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16 Resources For Writing Great Headlines: Guides And Tools

POSTED 06/03/2013
By Brad Zomick

When writing an article, there are several elements that are important to consider: learning about your readers, understanding what they want, finding the keywords they search for to find you, and piggy backing your concept onto current trends with newsjacking. You’ve come a long way and you are very close to selecting your first article topic. However, don’t get too excited because choosing the right title for your article can sometimes require just as much work as the prep work to develop the concept. The headline is a critical component of your article, as it must entice readers to click through Google search results or your main page into your article. That may sound easy enough but while 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, only 2 out of 10 will read your article.1

headline collage

Writing a good headline requires just as much work as developing a concept and writing the article.

There are many schools of thought on writing great headlines but the general consensus is that your headline should contain the following elements:

  • Be specific and as concise as possible
  • Be compelling and interesting
  • Make a statement or command with benefits
  • Use numbers and lists
  • Use question words: How, Why, What, etc.

When used properly, these elements come together to create link bait,2 a piece of content that is so catchy it entices people to share it with friends via social media and link to it on their on personal blogs and websites. While good link bait goes beyond title, it certainly starts with a great headline.

link bait

A good headline is the cornerstone of creating link bait.

Ready to try out your headline writing chops? Before you get started, here are a few resources to get you primed:

  1. Copyblogger is one the premier spots to learn about online writing as has an 11 article series on headlines that is the place to start for beginners.
  2. Once you have that under your belt check out “How To Write Award Winning Headlines,” from Entrepreneurs Journey for some more intermediate advice on headlines.
  3. Are you a journeyman in writing headlines? Then check out Poynter’s “10 Questions To Help You Write Better Headlines.”
  4. Jeff Goins, a prolific online writer, suggests these “5 Easy To Help You Write Catchy Headlines.”
  5. Contently has a great article on “How To Write Traffing-Gobbing Headlines Like The Huffington Post.”
  6. Not too confident in your writing skills? Then check out AimClear’s “Guide to Writing Headlines For Not-So-Great Writers
  7. When all else fails check out. “These 5 Astonishing Secrets Will Make Your Cry, Or Atleast Click.”
  8. Turn that headline into link bait, with Hubspot’s “The Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Link Bait.”

The resources above can be pretty over whelming so for those who prefer a more structured course or video tutorial format consider the following options:

  1. The 9 Part How To Write Headlines course from WordTracker.
  2. 7 Different Headline Formulas (video) from copywriter Stu Johnson.
  3. 7 Steps to Explosive Headlines (video)from the Wealth Creation Network.
  4. Learn How To Write Headlines That Sell (video) from affiliate marketer pro, Eben Pagan.

Believe it or not there are also a few tools of the trade that can help you develop your headlines:

Portent Content Idea Generator

Come up with headline ideas quickly with the content idea generator.

  1. Use the Content Idea Generator which quizzes you about your content subject and generates titles for you.
  2. Looking to add some rhyme to your title? Check out B-Rhymes which provides a rhyme for anytime.
  3. Once you have a title, try the Headline Analyzer from the Advanced Marketing Institute. This tool assesses your headline and gives it an Emotional Marketing Value score to measure the impact of your title.
  4.  Rock & Roll Copy swears by using Twitter to test out article titles.

Write Great Headlines & Attract More Readers

Well there you have it – everything you need to write a great headline. While writing a headline may seem simple, it is more than meets the eye. Anyone off the street, can write a headline but will it be one that is enticing enough to get someone to click from the Google search results page into an article? That remains to be seen. However, with the resources listed above and a little elbow grease, you too can create eye-popping headlines that will get anyone to click on. Practice makes perfect, so get started now! Good luck and have fun creating your first headline!

Learn Blogging collection

  1. Writing Headlines That Get Results. Copyblogger[]
  2. What is Link Bait? Brick Marketing[]
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