How do you write a headline that arouses curiosity, gets attention without selling your soul to the demons of click bait? Believe me it’s a tough question, which is why I’ve decided to share some tips and strategies that’ll take your headline writing from ‘oh no’ to ‘let’s go’!
Yes, your headline, grabs attention, but it does much more than that!
It gives the reader a taste of what’s to come, uses searchable keywords and has to sound engaging. That’s a tall order with only a handful of words!
There are plenty of headline formulas out there, in fact, you can use headline generators like Title Generator and get a list of over 700 all in one go!
But this blog isn’t about how to create formulaic headlines…
I’m here to help you take the key principles of persuasion and mix them with a dash of personality to create original, authentic and even quirky headlines for your heart centred businesses.
If you write on topics such as mindset, personal development, wellness, spirituality or intentional living then you want to attract the right audience, with mindful headlines that are aligned to your message. But this poses a challenge, as there’s not many resources outside of the standard formula. So here is a quick guide to help you.
This is a great exercise as it will force you to find the 3 words that best describe what you’re saying. These don’t have to be in a sentence, so for example, last week’s post can be summed up as: UNPREPARED; FUNNY; HONEST. How does this help? Take these concepts as a springboard for headline development.
I believe every article or blog has a lesson, it may be an obvious ‘how to’, but it can be more subtle. These lessons are about how your article helps someone know themselves better after reading it. So, ask yourself, what do I want my reader take away from this? To use the same example above, the lesson in this post is that being unprepared can have advantages, not everything has to be planned and that business can be a blind stumble in the beginning!
Let your brain go for a wander, and whatever it stumbles upon give your fingers permission to type. This should help you to create a list of bullet points, with lots of nonsense and some random gold that’ll pop out at you as you make connections between unexpected things. The more crazy your wanderings the better! If you find it hard to get started here, begin by writing the topic and link it to something in front of you, so for this post my list would look like this:
I love analogies! I’m always asking myself, what’s this like? And when you start doing that you’ll come up with some great comparisons that people can relate to easily. Why? Because you’re taking a familiar topic and saying this new thing is just like it! It saves the brain having to start from scratch and gives your readers a head start.
Want a recent example? I’ve just created a new product; my Express Copy Pedi! How did I name it? By creating an analogy. I’ve been thinking of my copy editing process as a pedicure – where I take your copy and shave off the hard skin, trim the gnarly nails and massage it till it’s polished, supple and glowing! The analogy fits my audience of business women who are familiar with the term, and keeps it light and fun which is in keeping with my personal brand.
Take the words you created in #1 and pop them into your thesaurus. These will generate a whole heap of new ideas for you, like a rabbit warren of words! Quirky versions of standard expressions have a powerful effect, they re-frame an existing phrase and pique our curiosity. For my blog post, instead of using unprepared, I could have said ‘improvise’, ‘out takes’ or ‘dress rehearsal’. So, my headline could go from:
Now, I’ve given you 5 strategies for generating authentic, quirky headlines that adhere to principles of persuasion. However, once you have your headline, it’s time to refine it!
Check your headline to see if you can add any of the following elements:
To draw reader attention and hit a spot that resonates, you want to massage these 3 elements into your headline. Let’s apply this to the last headline:
How can I add specificity?
How can I add benefits?
How can I add emotion?
Look forward to reading your vote in the comments…