I’m starting to see some really over-used words in blog and other social post titles. (The title of this post is intended as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to this trend.)
How many posts have you see today that will “amaze you,” are “astonishing,” or will make your “jaw drop when you see what happens next”? There are more threadbare words and phrases out there, but I get the underlying motivation: a good headline will get your content read, a bad headline gets you fewer eyeballs.
If your headline doesn’t capture the reader’s interest, it’s likely that the body of your content will go unread. The headline should tell the reader (and search engines) what your content is about and entice them to read more.
Elements of Great Headlines
Short and sweet. The optimal length is 6 words.
Include “you” and “your.” This speaks directly to the reader and makes your content seem more like a real conversation
Experiment with negatives. Words such as “no”, “never”, and “stop” have been shown to create more sharing. Just be sure that negatives don’t confuse your message.
Focus on meaningful adjectives and verbs. Make use of those grade school grammar lessons and pick verbs and adjectives that are lively and offer insight into your content. Make sure every word adds to the meaning of the headline.
Use numbers. Numbered lists still get a lot of attention. I guess we all wish solving life’s complexities can be boiled down to 3 simple steps 🙂 Forget what journalism class taught you about rules for when to write out numbers or use numerals; always use digits instead of words.