Killer headlines are one thing, but it helps if you have some killer content to go with it.
How often has this happened to you? Your eye catches an interesting headline and you click it only to be let down by what is at the end of the link. It’s like being offered oral sex, only to find out that oral means talking about it.
Writers want their words to be read. Everyone, from fun bloggers to pro bloggers, from journalists to novelists and especially the annoying shits who insist on sharing every single aspect of their insignificant lives on Facebook craves nothing more than a way to get your undivided attention. A search online will provide endless pages of advice on how to get your blog to go viral, and much of it focusses on killer headlines. It makes sense, because the headline is the only bit of your post that you can guarantee WILL be read. Getting the rest of it read is about convincing the reader to click, and after investing your time and money to create those thousand words of sheer magic, you want people to read more than just the first few words at the top of the page.
7 secrets for how to create things that will make you rich and no-one wants you to know about.
When it comes to creating killer headlines, the consensus of opinion is pretty much universal and usually advocates the use of a handful of mind-game techniques. Lists, how-to’s, secrets and solutions to problems are the common suggestions.
The result of this advice is that you spend your browsing-time leaping from page to page, with each click promising another of life’s secrets but disclosing very little.
The upside of there being proven techniques to entice readers to click on your post is that there is a formula, and everyone can do it. The downside is that the internet is now crammed with endless posts with great headlines:
- How to get the job you deserve by just sitting on your arse.
- The secret of getting more money that no-one wants you to know.
- 1076 photos of cats in hats.
Once you have been lured to such a page and you realise that the article doesn’t quite live up to the promise, your attention will drift and take you to a ‘you might also like‘ section at the bottom the post. This will have headlines such as ’74 celebrities who look freaky’ and it will be illustrated with a photo of Macaulay Culkin. If you follow this link, it will take you to a page with a bigger picture of Macaulay Culkin and a button that says ‘next’. Clicking this button will seem to make your browser freeze, but it will eventually reload with a photo of a different celebrity in the act of sneezing or chewing a bagel (something that will make the prettiest face look less than desirable). If you get to the third celebrity you will soon be demoralised and decide to go elsewhere: if you keep going to view all seventy four, you are a danger to society.
How to create headlines that will make you appear cool and sexy!
Another attention grabbing technique is the use of keywords, often ones that suggest shock or titillation for anyone who dares to look at the article.
She thought it was a normal tin of beans and sausages, but she couldn’t believe what was inside.
That sounds terrible. What could possibly have been in the tin of beans? A snake? A finger? A penis? I must have a look at that. Click. Disappointment soon follows. Chances are, she was shocked to find that it was all beans and no sausage.
It looks like normal lingerie, but you won’t believe what it does to breasts.
Wow, surely that’s got to be worth a look? Click. Just as I suspected, an article about a bra that was poorly designed and created a cleavage underneath instead of on top. A shit article, but at least the writer got another click for their statistics.
The psychology may be tried and tested, but I for one have learnt that such worded headlines are often a sign of… what’s the word I’m looking for? Ah, yes, bollocks.
The ultimate lesson in creating killer headines.
Writers, by all means study the art of creating headlines, because in theory it should help us all to get more out of our time on the internet and guide us to those important posts we want to read. To help you on your way here is one such recent article by Ariel Rule that neatly explains why you should do it as well as some suggestions of how.
But remember, equally important as making your headlines interesting is that it should be followed by something worth reading.
She thought it was an ordinary blog post, but when she got to the end she was completely blown away!
…When Dorothy finished reading the latest Heddington post, she ran home to tell her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry about it. As she got near to the farm, a huge tornado struck, and Dorothy and her little dog Toto were blown away.