The A-2-Z of Business Blog Writing: H is for Headlines

The A 2 Z of Business Blog Writing: H is for Headlines image HTWB headlines.1The A 2 Z of Business Blog Writing: H is for HeadlinesFirst things first: what does the headline of your blog post have to achieve? What feeling do you want readers to have (apart from wanting to read more, obviously) once they’ve read it?

Fear? Curiosity? Laughter? Hope?

In both online and offline media people come up with all sorts of rationalisations about headlines needing to do this if they are in an advertisement, that if they are for a blog post, the other if they are for a magazine article, another for a press release, and so-on.

Balderdash. All headlines need to grab readers by the throat. And that’s it.

And obviously blog posts are no exception.

Your blog post will be out there competing for attention with literally millions of others in cyberspace. Of course you can’t write a headline that’s going to stop the world turning on its axis. But you need to make sure yours gets noticed a) on your blog when people stop by for a look and b) in the Social Media when you and others share it.

What constitutes a good headline for a blog post?

There are thousands of experts out there in cyberspace offering you lengthy advice on this topic but in my experience here’s the basic list. A good headline has to offer something to readers that achieves one or more of the following:

  • Implies or suggests a benefit to them
  • Is genuine, relevant news they need to know
  • Intrigues them and makes them laugh
  • Needles their curiosity
  • Sympathises with their problem and hints at a solution
  • Invites them in to share what you’re doing
  • Asks a question they want answered

Some popular ways of structuring good business blog post headlines

Show them how to do something … this might be accompanied not only by text, but also by video. E.g…
Learn how to (solve whatever problem) in just a few hours
How to bypass those pesky written instructions and get your (product) working in minutes

The old list trick … this has been around for ages but statistics show it’s still a very popular pull. E.g…
9 ways you can beat winter blues and keep colds and flu at bay
15 quick tips to help you short-circuit boring office admin

Explanations of complex issues … and how conquering those will help readers. E.g…
Why veterinarians can gain from helping pet owners understand drug regimes
Stop worrying about your local taxes with this easy-to-use guide

Ask a question readers will identify with… with an implied answer. E.g…
Have you yet to discover these useful ways to cut admin costs?
Are you still wondering why your business isn’t growing as fast as you would like?

Shock, horror … instill a little fear but make sure you ally it to salvation ASAP in the text! E.g…
6 warning signs that your business may be in danger of failure
Are you sure your customers are staying loyal to you?

Goofs that could screw things up … once again, be sure to allay fears / provide solutions ASAP in the text. E.g…
The 6 most common mistakes naïve new SMEs make
Are you guilty of these easily-resolved mistakes in your small business?

Sharing secrets … I know, I know, but many people are still attracted to these headlines. E.g….
10 money-saving secrets that can transform your family’s life
8 stress-busting secrets that will help you get your life back on track

And, here are some useful trigger words to start off your headlines

  • Advice
  • Announcing
  • At Last
  • Because
  • How
  • How To
  • If
  • Introducing
  • New
  • Now
  • This
  • Wanted
  • Which
  • Who Else
  • Why
  • You

Some further thoughts about headlines in these posts here on HTWB

Hashtags in headlines: sticky, or tacky?

The sort of headlines you should avoid…

Use of capital letters in headlines

And a last word …

This week we’re having a lively discussion on Google Plus about titles and headlines, so please do come on over and join in if you’re eligible … and/or post your thoughts here!

Either way I’m waiting to know what you think…

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family (don’t forget the Holiday Season is coming soon)…

photo credit: RambergMediaImages via photopin cc

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