Writing great headlines is one of the key elements of good blogging practices – everyone says so, right?
There are dozens of tutorials out there explaining what makes a good headline; numbered lists, using the words How to in the title, addressing a key fear a large group of people have…
That’s fine, but what happens when you write what you think is a great headline and it doesn’t seem to be doing it’s job? Feels like a complex problem. Feeling like you need to do some analysis, get some feedback?
This is one of those things where I know – I know – you’ll be mad at me for how simple this is.
It turns out there are some really simple ways to tell if you’ve written a bad headline, no matter how good you think it is.
- make a joke your post doesn’t follow-up on
- make it the wrong length (too long or too short)
- don’t check the title to see if it fits once the post is written
- include an inaccuracy in the headline as relates to the post, but not on purpose
- imply something is new/old when it’s not (Even if it may be so for your intended audience)
- give away the entire post in the headline
… You might have written an awful headline. And when you have a bad headline, it doesn’t matter how good the post is. No one will read it.
Just like when you have a great headline, if the post sucks, you’ve jumped the shark. No one cares about the great headline, unless it’s tweetbait, in which case if they have share remorse, they’ll be even more ticked.
Law Seven – There is no more obvious way to kill your blog than inconsistency of form.
It could be consistency of message, consistency of schedule, or any number of other things, but when you break consistency, you’re making people think for the wrong reasons and making a withdrawal from the bank of social capital.
Unless you’re writing research papers or case studies, you want people to expend their energy considering that you publish, not examining it for lumpy bits like titles that don’t fit, or bad grammar.
Reducing the emotional overhead on your work helps keep the investment people make in your work valid.
Writing better headlines – as relate to the writing they represent – is a good start.