Don’t Bother Writing A Great Article If Your Headline Sucks

According to Copyblogger, which is the number one most followed blog on content marketing, 80% of visitors will read your headline, but only 20% of those visitors will go on to read the piece itself. This is because people who read articles and blogs typically scan headlines in order to determine whether or not your work deserves to be read. This means that what you decide to title your post is almost as, if not more important than the actual content itself. The more engaging and interesting your headline is to visitors, the better chances you’ll have of your post being read by more people. As writers and content marketers, it’s our job to help visitors know why they should choose to read us.

How to write a great headline

When it comes to writing an article on LinkedIn or a blog post for your company, being able to craft great headlines is a critical skill for any writer and content marketer.

Here are three ideas to keep in mind when crafting your next headline:

1) Create interest

One of the best examples of a headline that consistently gets me to click on the article even though I know the content itself will be subpar is when the headline says something like, “10 things to do while in (insert your city here.) Number 6 is a must!” As soon as I read this type of headline, I’m immediately thinking to myself, “Well, what’s number 6? I have to know.”

This headline does a great job at creating interest in the reader and as a result, it leads to more views. The problem with these types of headlines however is they usually have disappointing content backing them up. People don’t like to be tricked into reading something they’ll find boring, but people do like to be drawn into reading something exciting. It’s your job to do that through the content you write as well.

Take some time to consider what headline will grab people’s attention the most, and make sure that it describes your content in an honest way. The people who read your post will enjoy it and they’ll appreciate you even more for it.

2) Be beneficial

Before publishing, always ask yourself this question: Does your headline offer the reader a reward for reading your article?

This question is important because as humans, we are unquestionably self-interested. In all areas of life whether it’s business, politics, or economics, self interest reigns supreme as a normative principle of human behavior. This means in order to be a great writer or content marketer, you need to know how to appeal to people’s self interest because the truth is people just don’t care how good your article is. They only care how good they think your article is going to help them become.

In an age of distraction, no one has time to read an article with a headline that doesn’t seem to benefit them first. Every person who reads your headline is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” If your headline can answer that question for them, they’ll read your post.

3) Be specific

One of the biggest reasons headlines fail is because they’re not specific enough. An example of a poorly written headline is “Who would miss you?” This article was about brand differentiation, but the headline suggests it could have been about anything and readers aren’t going to click on the article to find out what it’s really about.

Parting thoughts

If you have a blog post or an article that is really important to you and one that you really want people to read, then you need to obsess over the title of your post. Without a brilliant, compelling, and interesting headline, your hard work may never be read by people. Writing a great headline doesn’t guarantee that your writing will be loved and shared. The quality of your headline still needs to be backed up by the content of your post, but great content with a bad headline is certainly always going to go unread.

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36 thoughts on “Don’t Bother Writing A Great Article If Your Headline Sucks

  1. Totally, I am a real lazy reader and I skim , and if the title and the part of the post i read intrigue me I read the whole thing. They say the Title matters for SEO as well. I haven’t figured Search Engine Optimization out yet, and got my head around it. I don’t know how relevant it is when you have twitter and other marketing avenues. They say we should know what the trending words are, use them in the title – but still be relevant to the content of the blog. The trending words should be in your tags and categories. I am not bothered with SEO right now. I am not sure if my titles always meet the mark, but I know they matter to capture the reader.

    They say you have to test it on yourself, will you read the article you have written yourself or ?? We are the best gauge of an audience.

    Nice post as always – factual and to the point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just want to say headlines aren’t as important when you have already built relationships with people. like people like me will always read your posts despite the headline, but people who you haven’t built a relationship with probably won’t. in that sense, they are very important.

      SEO is tricky, something everyone should know. Google is actually smart enough to know when you are purposely trying to over do it with SEO and will actually punish people for it. I haven’t looked much into it though, but I should, thanks for remind me Bella:)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. no no they don’t punish people for using SEO. everyone should know how to use it, but if you try to OVERUSE it in your post and trick people into reading your posts then google is smart enough to know that you’re overdoing it and will punish you for it. not like punish you as in fine you though

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very true. The headline is like the icing on the cake…but like you said, the content should also be of good quality to keep them engaged and want to read more. This is a very good reminder for us, writers. Thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just want to clarify that headlines are only important for attracting new readers. When you have built relationships with people though like you have, then those people will most likely read your posts despite the headline you choose to use. Headlines are only important for the people who don’t know you yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ive read two post here, and I thing I’ll stay here for a while. Something I immediately realized is that your writing style is so easy to read, which makes reading your posts so interesting. very beautiful blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. oh that’s awesome:) it’s hard for me to find book bloggers for some reason. but yea I read a lot so almost all of my posts are basically based on books that I’ve read. what kind of books do you read?

        Like

    1. exactly:) old readers will typically read your posts despite the headline because you have built trust with each other. but like you said, headlines are important for attracting new readers, who are those who haven’t built trust with. I’m glad you liked it:) It’s nice to meet you:)

      Like

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