Thursday, November 15, 2018

Five Tips For Writing An Attention-Grabbing Headline

Do you select a heading before writing your blog post or article, or do you write your body of text first?

Whilst your preference is entirely up to you, I usually opt for the latter - choosing a title upon completion of writing my blog post. I much like the thought of my writing having the freedom to go as far afield as it needs to without the confines of a title forcing me to stay 'on topic'. But in reality, that is not always feasible. Besides, for many, the structure that a predetermined heading offers holds more appeal

Whether you're a 'before' or 'after' kind of gal, I believe that there are certain guidelines, that if respected will always enhance your writing. Let's face it, aside from the images, your heading will be the focal part of your copy, and for most, the first thing they read. In fact, studies have shown that 20 - 40% * who read a headline will go on to read the rest of the text.

So how do you ensure that your blog titles and headlines fall on the favourable side of the statistics? Firstly, in order to seduce your readers, your titles need to arouse their curiosity. There are no hard and fast rules on how to do this, however here are some of my guidelines on how to do that.

1. Make them intriguing - headlines that ask questions, or only tell half the story are great ways to pique your readers' interest. Take this example, "Man digging in backyard makes a discovery he never expected". "How to..." lists as well as "Top Tips", are also very effective as they offer the promise of a life or business hack.

2. Make them entertaining - You can do this by using adjectives and emotive language. Also, writing about current affairs and trending topics will enable your headings to be naturally appealing. Why do you think in the Financial Times's headline on the 15th November, "May braced for backlash after winning ferocious BREXIT battle"  the editor used the words "backlash", "ferocious" and "battle"?

3. Make them factual - Avoid sensationalist headlines and exaggerations. Ensure your headings have some semblance to your body of text. Readers of today are quite savvy and can usually sense when a headline is being used as bait.

4. Make them concise.  - Remember that your heading is only supposed to be a snapshot of the topic at hand. To make an attention-grabbing headline, be sharp with them and leave the long explanations for your main body of text.

5. Make them SEO ready - There is a lot to SEO (search engine optimisation), but simply put - ensure your headlines are suitable for the web. My main advice when it comes to your headings and SEO, are a) choose a catchy key phrase that will make your blog post stand out, and b) keep your titles below 60 characters, so they are not cut short in Google's search results.

That's all I have for you. I hope I have inspired you to be more creative, and careful when selecting your attention-grabbing headline.

Are there any more tips you can add to my list? Comment below.




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