How to write kick-ass headlines, and tools that will help

Welcome to day six of the Blogcrastination Obliterator. Today we’re talking about how to come up with kick-ass headlines, and tools that will help you.

What's Covered Today?

  • Headline Rules of Thumb
  • 4 Must Have Headline Tools

Headline Rules of Thumb

Your headline is vitally important. You want to quickly grab the reader’s attention and for events, you also want to show up in search results online. Make sure your headline or subject line is on-topic and succinct.

For example: You’ve recently held a coffee van afternoon tea where it bucketed down with rain but you still made a profit. You thought that was unusual and you wanted to share it with your audience. What’s your headline?

“Daycare Centre Hosts Coffee Van for Afternoon Tea” or

“Coffee Van Afternoon Tea a Hit Despite The Rain”

Which headline would you choose if you wanted to paint a brief picture about what happened that day?

1. If you can, stick to a short, punchy headline.

Puns are fine but try to be original and not too cheesy. If you read it back to yourself and cringe, then maybe reword.

a. Entice to read more
b. Brevity rules (aim for 70 characters or less)
c. Don’t be salesy

The example in the video was a post that I wrote on LinkedIn Pulse. It went viral. As you can see the title is short and punchy but kinda leaves the reader hanging because it begs a question. And there’s no sales content in the article or headline.

2. Avoid “of” and “by” like the plague.

These words in a sentence are passive. You want active verbs wherever possible.

Saying: “coffee flew out the van door despite the rain,” is easier on the eye than saying “the sales of coffee by us were so great that we had trouble with keeping up with demand, despite the rain.”

3. Use “doing” words, in other words “verbs”

Describe the action not the action’s product. Eg. I could have written that sentence like this: Describe what action took place and not the product of the action. Which sounds better?

4 Must-have Headline Tools

I literally had over 200 topic ideas after filling out their form. And most of them were useable. A few needed deleting or a little editing but that also spawned more ideas. This is a fabulous tool but you do have to sign up for their email list to access it. It’s worth it.

Sharethrough is similar to coschedule’s tool (see below), only without the email gateway.

Coschedule has a freebie headline analyzer tool but it requires you to input significant information to access the results. Still, you get free ongoing access after that so if you want it, it’s probably worth it.

Answer the Public searches the web for headlines that have already been written about your topic and then divides them visually according to who, what, when, where, how, why and are questions.

The result is a huge array of ideas to inspire your headlines.

Coming up with topic ideas doesn’t have to be an onerous process. As you can see, some of the tools about make it fun… or funner than staring at a blank screen. If all else fails, you can always ask your friends, your grandma or your dad for help or you can pay someone to do the research for you.

As usual, if you have any issues or you want to ask any questions, please hit me up in the Writally group.