The headline is the first thing you read, and 80% of the time readers use it as their primary basis for whether or not they’ll continue reading.
If your headline is average, you can expect that 50% of the people who see it won’t even read your article. They won’t click on the link when they see the headline of the post in their social media newsfeed. They won’t open the email and open the article.
This, of course, means less traffic, fewer shares, and most importantly, lower return on investment of your time and money.
This is completely independent of the quality of the article itself. You might expect an average article to get average results and a good article to get better results, but the truth is that without a terrific headline that attracts attention to your post, the quality of the article is largely irrelevant, and even a great article will end up being read by almost no one.
That’s why writing headlines are something you need to master. Master it and you’ll be able to generate traffic on demand and multiple existing traffic to a blog without much effort. Just like Eric was able to do with his blog Pick the Brain.
He wrote a post that he was sure would go viral, and after publishing it, he got 100 visitors. He knows the post deserved more than that. So he deleted the post and after 2 days he republished it under a different headline and got 5,000 visitors to the very same post.
Yes, he got 50x his blog traffic without changing a word in the post itself. That is the power of headlines. You could read more about this case study here.
If you want to experience this huge spike in traffic, then you need to master writing powerful headlines. And that’s exactly what you’re going to discover in this article: how to master the art of writing magnetic headlines.
1. Study Magazine Headlines Everyday
Magazines already know the secret to sell more copies, and it is to write magnetic headlines. That’s why the best-selling magazines have already cracked the code for writing attractive headlines.
You can save yourself a lot of time studying their headlines. You’ll often see that they follow specific formats.
Study their style, their format, the wording they use, and why they use them. Do this for multiple magazines every day. You don’t need new ones. You can study old ones which you can buy in bulk for cheap.
Do this every day, and you’ll be equipped to write better headlines than 95% of online content writers.
2. Apply What You Learn and Write Headlines Every Day
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that if you want to be a better writer, you need to write every day. The same is true with any form of writing, including headlines.
If you want to become better at writing headlines, write headlines every day.
You don’t need to be working on an article to write headlines every day. You can just check articles on the Internet and try writing multiple headlines for that article.
You could also make a logbook of headlines that you could use later that contains post ideas, so you won’t need to spend much time finding ideas to write about. Just make sure that you tweak the headline again to make it better when you actually write the post.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time writing headlines. Start by writing 10-20 headlines every day about different topics you read about.
Jon Morrow, the master of headlines, says that he used to write 100 headlines every day for 2 years. Now, as I said, he’s the master of writing headlines and has written 3 of the most popular posts on the Internet.
All of this in addition to running Smart Blogger and making it one of the fastest growing blogs in the past 2 years without publishing tons of content every day. Only once a week.
So if you want to master writing headlines, trust the process, and write headlines every single day.
3. Steal from Popular Blogs and Magazines
If you’re still just starting on the journey of improving your headlines, you don’t want to wait for a year to start reaping the benefits, right?
Here’s a quick thing you can do to fix your headlines and instantly improve them.
Steal what’s working for other people and apply it to your post. You could steal the formats that are working in your niche. In most niches, list headlines like “10 Tips to Improve X While Doing Y” perform well.
Find the ones that are currently working in your niche. Find the popular blogs and then find the top posts on these blogs and study their headlines. You should also take note of the wording they use, the angles they write about.
All of this will help you understand your niche better and be able to instantly craft better headlines for your posts.
If you want a quick head start, check out Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks, where he share 52 of the popular templates you can already use to write the next viral post.
4. Use Power Words in Your Headlines
Not all words in the English language are created equal. Many words have the same meaning, but some are far more powerful than their synonyms.
That’s why there are words which are called power words. Use these words instead of the weak ones and you’ll instantly have a better headline.
Add these to any of the templates that are already proven to work in your niche and you’ll have magnetic headlines that your readers can’t help but read.
These are the things you don’t study in high school and college. Luckily, Sumo has compiled a list of 401+ power words you could use to make your headlines instantly better. Check the list out here.
5. Analyze Your Headline Before Publishing It
Have you ever wished you could predict whether your headline would be a hit or not before publishing a post?
What if you could get a grade for your headline so that you could tweak it to make it better?
It would be like magic, right? After all, better headline=more traffic.
Make sure you do all the Grammar and punctuation checking before making it live.
Well, you’re in luck, because Coschedule has created such a tool called Coschedule Headline Analyzer.
All you need to do is to visit the link for the tool, enter your headline, and wait for the tool to analyze it and give you the results.
You will be asked to enter your details when you first use the tool. The tool is worth paying $$$/month.
Here’s what you get after they analyze your headlines.
This analysis was for the headline “How to effectively cook to look sexy.”
As I said, the best part is that you can still optimize it to increase the score. You’ll also see that there is a headline history with the score of each one, so you know which one is the best.
You’ll then see an analysis of the length of the headline so that it’s not truncated by Google in the search results.
Add to that the previews you get, one in the search engines so that you know how it will look on Google, and the other one in the email, so you know that Gmail won’t cut off your headline.
On top of all of this are the tips you get so that you have the perfect headlines, and you’ll see how vital this tool is to not only improve your headlines but to get more traffic to your business.
5. Crafting the Right Headline Is an Art
Really, writing a headline is like creating a piece of art, you need to keep polishing it till you have the perfect one. You can start by stealing what works from others and add your own personal touch to make it fit your topic and be much better.
And then use power words to make it 100% more attractive to readers to click the links and read the post all the way to the end.
As David Ogilvy says, “On average, 5x as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
That’s why you need to keep polishing your headline-writing skills every day. This can will only happen by one of 2 ways, reading headlines of popular magazines and popular blog posts, or writing headlines every day (even on Christmas, you sloucher!). 😉
At the beginning, you could only spend just 10 mins a day and you will see a huge difference after 6 months. You could then spend more time if you really want to master it.
The most important thing is to start with small actions and make it consistent.
And don’t ever again publish a post unless you’ve polished the headline to the best version it could possibly be. Remember, you spend 80 cents already out of a dollar with your headline, so don’t waste it.