Thursday, January 17, 2013

6 Great Headline Ideas That Make People Read Your Book, Article, Blog Post, or Press Release

Ever spend a ton of time writing something...the PERFECT blog post or a great article...and NOBODY READS it?

Don't you HATE that?

What keeps people from reading things you write?  (Don't worry - It's happened to me, too!)

Yes, it could be a marketing problem, but most of the time, your title just isn't very good.  It's amazing how much time writers will spend on what they are writing, but too often these same hard-working writers just throw together a title, as if people will read the words they wrote in the body of the article, book, press release, or blog post BEFORE they read the TITLE.

If the title is boring, do YOU read it?

If you're busy (and who isn't?), are you reading every article you see?  Probably not!  You're reading the stories where the TITLE catches your eye.

Which titles catch people eyes?  Here are five (5) different types of headlines that will bring more readers to see what you wrote:
  1. Make a Ridiculous Connection or Comparison
  2. State Something Seemingly Scandalous or Contradictory
  3. Create Lists
  4. Make People Embrace Their Laziness
  5. Demonstrate Desirability
  6. Give the Inside Scoop
Let's take a closer look at each of these...

1. Make a Ridiculous Connection or Comparison

This type of headline basically makes people respond with something along the lines of, "...What was that?  Wait a second....WHAT?  How do THOSE relate?"

Example #1: 4 Ways Twitter is Like Craigslist

Example #2: How Twitter Can Be Like The Annoying Orange

Potential Example: How Social Media is Like Captain Kangaroo

You're taking two (2) things that do NOT relate...UNTIL you relate them.  (Now, you MUST relate them...Falsely advertising a headline will lead to disappointed readers...leading to the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome...nobody believes your titles after a while.

2. State Something Seemingly Scandalous or Contradictory

When you write a headline using this method, you are stating something that insults yourself or someone else...or SEEMS like it is an insult.  People LOVE to read about things to that put other people in a "bad light."  (Sad but true!)

Example #1: 6 Ways I Could Have Networked Better at My Last Event

Example #2: Why My Blog Writing Stinks

Potential Example: Proof that President Obama is Insane

If you are "insulting" anyone else besides yourself, you need to be careful.  However, ideally, you are playing a game similar to that old foolish interview question, "What is your biggest weakness?"

Most of us know that we're supposed to give some answer like, "I a workaholic.  I tend to put in way too many hours wherever I work."

That answer lists a "supposed negative" that most employers will really love.

I never respected that type of interview, but this approach works well when writing.  Why I'm lousy, but...why I'm really not lousy at all...I'm actually very good.

This HAS to be clear if you seemingly "insult" someone else, but it can be a very effective approach.

We LOVE to "get the dirt."

3. Create Lists

People love to know that there are only a certain number of things they need to do to accomplish something.

Many more people like lists than are quick to admit, and there are plenty of people who readily admit to liking lists.

Example #1: 5 Ways I Would Use Social Media to Market a Bakery

Example #2: Over 7 Ways to be More Effective on LinkedIn

Potential Example: 4 Ways to Lose 5 Pounds This Month

When your headline implies that you list things, many people start to think that they are really close to that answer they've been trying to find.  Often, they only starting "trying to find it" after reading your title.

Many people will read your blog post, article, press release, or book if your title implies that there are a finite number of steps.  We're all curious about THAT!

4. Make People Embrace Their Laziness

I don't care how hard of a worker you are, we all WANT to be lazy.  Many of us might not admit it, but we would LOVE to win that lottery so that we don't HAVE to work, anymore.  We want to lose that weight without eating right or exercising.

We want to pick those vegetables from the garden without having to plant the seeds and weed.

We WANT life to be easy.  (You don't have to say, "Yes."  I already know. :)

Write a headline that makes it seem EASY!

Example #1: 1 Way to Create Nothing & Still Create Something on YouTube

Example #2: 4 Steps to Being Effective on Social Media without Going Nuts

Potential Example: How George Made $2,497 Yesterday without Leaving Home

Obviously, my potential example is stronger than my "real" ones, but you can see where when it looks like there is a "secret" to making things EASY, it's a little "easier" to click.

NOTE TO SELF: Putting together this blog post, it lets me know that I need to do MORE of these types of headlines...and blog posts.

Headlines that tell the reader that his or her life will be easier will get read!

5. Demonstrate Desirability

Some of us are more susceptible to peer pressure than others, but we all have things we envy in what we see in other people.  It happens.

Example #1: (I don't have any!  I have work to do.  This is embarrassing!!!)

Potential Example #1: How to Get a Butt Like J-Lo

Potential Example #2: How to Make That Woman Beg for Your Number

Don't think there are any ladies who will read that FIRST one?  Riiiiiggggghhhhhhtttt!

Think any men might be curious about #2?

Any more explanation needed?

It looks like I don't do enough of THESE types of headlines, either.  They sure would work well for me.

6. Give the Inside Scoop

People LOVE getting info on things they really "shouldn't know."

Many of us want to know how celebrities we can see things that really aren't part of our lives but make us curious.

Example #1: Over 7 Reasons I Will +1, Thumbs Up, or Like Your Post or Comment

Example #2: Over 5 Reasons This Lazy Person Is Not Reading Your Blog

Potential Example: Things Jennifer Aniston Really Likes to Eat

See how using these headlines might make people want to read more of what you write?

Which are your favorite types of headlines?  Did I miss any important ones?  (I'm sure I did!)

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