“What” Headlines: They tell the reader what the post is about. No more no less.
Template Headlines: They use a direct response template that entices people to read. These headlines are reliable but are getting stale as more people use them.
Gimmick Headlines: Sensational bait-and-switch teasers that trick visitors to read. They usually work once since most readers vow never to come back. Visit this hilarious random headline generator to see an example of Gimmick headlines.
“What Headlines” are the most popular, easiest to write, and most likely to consistently fail to attract attention.
These headlines are written by sober and serious professionals who can’t or won’t use a Template Headline and feel that gimmick headlines will usher in the apocalypse. They believe their audience would see through riskier headlines and will lower their opinion of their expertise or business. I can respect that.
The problem is that What Headlines are boring. They fail to do the basic job of a headline – getting the visitor to read the first line of the post. So how do you write a better headline without sounding like infomercial spokesman?
Try the Benefit Headline
The next time you write a post, pause a moment before slapping on that “What” headline and ask yourself:
“What will the visitor get when they read the post?
Will they get –
1. A new technique for managing credit card debt?
2. 3 vegetarian dishes that meat eaters would love?
3. A new to online advertising that gets more leads for less money?
Now you can go the factual (umm… boring) route and write:
1. Credit Card Score Changes for Q4 2013
2. Protein substitutes for Non Vegetarians
3. Paid Advertising : The Latest From Google
Yes these headlines are exactly what your post describes. Yes these headlines won’t get you in trouble with your boss. And, yes, 3 months from now you’ll be still wondering why your blog isn’t attracting new readers.
The Benefit headline blogger would take the primary benefit of the post and write:
“How to Manage Your Credit Card Debt Even If You Are Close To Going Under”
– The benefit: Credit card tips even if you’re broke.
“Three Vege Dishes Carnivores Will Love”
– The benefit: Making your meat-eating friends happy
“How to Get More Google Leads For Less Money Than You Think”
– The benefit: Getting something more for a lot less.
Look closely these headlines are still describing the post but in a way that appeals to your reader. This isn’t gimmicky its sexy and factual.
Give the Benefit Headline Makeover a try and keep track of the results. I’m confident you will see your post get more views and shares.