Crafting your headline may be the most important thing you do when writing a blog post. It’s the doorway through which your readers will enter. To make them feel welcome, interested and sure they are entering the right place, your headline needs to be clear and enticing. This also applies to tweets. If you want people to click on your link, you need to first ask:
* What is this story about?
* Who will find it most interesting?
* What will grab their interest best?
In one sentence you need to tell the entire story in a way that invites them in. Here are some tips that will help:
1 -Write the Headline First
This usually ensures that your article is exactly what your headline says it is. As you write, the headline will also help you to keep in mind what you are using to entice them.
2 – Use an Active Verb
“Man Bites Dog” is so much more powerful than “Dog is Bitten By Man.” Don’t be passive.
3 – Appeal to Their Self Interest
“Experts Share Strategies for Saving $$ on Event Production” – Who doesn’t want to save money?
“BizBash Announces Event Award Winners” – Everyone wants to be up on the latest news.
5 – Curiosity
“What Skills Do Successful Event Planners Share?” Questions are great ways to peak curiosity.
6 – Play to Your Niche
Know your audience and the labels they identify with and USE THEM!! (See headline examples 3,4 & 5)
7 – Persuade
Why should they read your article as opposed to others? Words like “Exclusive” “Latest Research” or “New Post”, if they apply, can help call attention to your post.
8 – Lists
List posts are almost always a hit. The most popular post I ever wrote is titled, “14 Kick-Ass Tips for Getting Your Tweets Retweeted.” Lists can also help you to structure an article, if you are stuck.
9 – Quotes
I used a quote by a very beloved event professional for the headline on another post that did very well. “Joan Eisenstodt: ‘Stop Pretending Nothing Bad Happens at Events’”
10- How To
If you’re explaining how to do something your readers would find useful, by all means, start your headline with “How To”. Free information is a big enticement. Even if I can’t read it now, chances are I will bookmark it and read it later.
11 – Names
Well known people in your industry can be a big draw (see #9). But you might also consider building a post around a celebrity. Jeff Hurt recently wrote a blog post titled, “Make Your Conference More Lady Gaga-istic”
12 – Numbers
Statistics can be extremely powerful. “U.S. Meetings Industry Directly Supports 1.7 Million Jobs” is an enticing headline.
13 – Hashtags (for Tweets)
A hashtag is a word or acronym preceded by a # sign on Twitter. It identifies a subject or a group. Use hashtags at the end of a tweet to get niche attention. I have even used hashtags in my actual blog headlines, to save time. “#eventprofs Dogs Meeting on Twitter Leads to Speaker’s Gig”
14 – Don’t be Cute, Clever or Puny
It might fly, but it’s more likely that you’ll confuse people. Take my first editor’s advice: KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
15 – Take Your Time With It
The headline can make or break your blog post or tweet so take your time and get it right. I’ve been known to tweet an entirely different title from a blog post that I’m tweeting about. Even if I didn’t write the post, if I’m going to bother to tweet about it, I want to make sure someone clicks on it. But you don’t want to have to rely on other people to do this. Perfect your headline writing. There are very few other things you can do as a blogger, or tweeter, that can be so rewarding.
As Co-Owner/Marketing Director of Icon Presentations, audio visual for events, located in Southern California, Jenise created a marketing strategy for use on Twitter called EIR or Engage, Inform & Retweet which has led to numerous business opportunities for her and has been adopted by many on Twitter. She covers events industry topics both on her blog Sound n’ Sight and in her role as Community Manager for Engage365, an online community for events professionals. Her background also includes 6 years as an improv performer which she says taught her valuable skills for business and personal development. Jenise shares her knowledge of social media and improv as a workshop presenter.
To learn more about Jenise Fryatt and her contribution to the Liz King Events Blog, view her profile.
The opinions and viewpoint expressed in this blog represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liz King Events.
Photo by T. F. Torrey.