How To Write Award Winning Blog Headlines

By Yaro Starak
102 Comments

Umbrella Yaro (Mona Tasmania)

I remember when I was putting together the Blog Mastermind course four years ago, writing lessons on how to produce powerful blog content. I felt very confident teaching this area except for one topic – how to come up with effective blog headlines – which I felt deserved an entire course in and of itself.

The headline is the first part of your blog article that a person reads, which acts as the gatekeeper, fully responsible for whether the visitor continues on and reads the entire article, or at least scans it, or scurries off looking for more entertaining subject matter.

I feel it is difficult to teach headline writing because, at least in my experience, it’s so much about random bursts of creativity. When I write headlines I sit down (or stand-up at my stand-up table), read the article, look at the various hooks or stories in the piece, and then use my creative spark to generate headlines. Almost all the headlines pop into my head from somewhere, a place that I can’t easily “teach” from because it lacks structure. There are very few replicable elements I can talk about – it just happens.

Copywriters of course would argue that there is plenty you can teach about how to write good headlines, but having never studied the art of copywriting to any great depth, nor really desiring to do so, it has been an area I have tried to stay clear of. Not that I think studying copywriting isn’t a good thing, it just depends what you need it for and where you are coming from. I’ve ambled by adequately with my own creative abilities, and as I describe below, have veered towards less structured studying methods than text books or courses specifically on copywriting. That makes me a good artist, but not a good art teacher, though I am going to attempt to do both here in this article.

If you dig into the archives of this blog, you won’t find any articles specifically about how to write a good headline. That’s quite ridiculous for someone who proclaims to be a blogging teacher. Hence I need to take some action to change this.

Here is my introduction to the Yaro school of how to write a good blog headline

How I Learned How To Write Good Blog Headlines

While far from perfect, I’ve been known to write a good headline here on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com now and then. If you go back and read this blog from the start you can see how far my headlines have evolved. When I started I had never really “done” writing before, beyond university assignments and emails written to friends and family while traveling. Headlines really don’t matter for that style of writing.

Over the years as I became a proper blogger I realized how absolutely critical the headline is and what goes into a good headline. Most of my learning was via osmosis, as it usually is, reading countless articles and emails from Internet marketers, bloggers, newspaper and magazine writers, seeing good headlines but not really knowing why they were good.

Once you have your head switched over to “meta-thinking” (what is going on behind what you are observing) you start to ask yourself why things work or result in certain outcomes.

For example, whenever I came across an article on another blog that covered a similar subject to my own articles, yet performed so much better, I started looking for answers. Although many factors contributed, in almost all cases I noticed that good headlines – better than my own – were winning audience views. It didn’t matter if the content wasn’t as good as mine (in my humble opinion!), as long as the headline was good it was read and shared a lot more frequently.

I also noticed which marketers were able to convince me to open emails and which writers could tempt me to read articles. There was something about the way they communicated. As an affiliate to many big launches, I could see what was working and noticed subtle things – like how many words were used, which words were most effective, how style and personality could be conveyed, and the importance of flow and cadence. Many of these things are difficult to assess empirically, but over time I started to develop a feel for it.

As with most things, practice makes perfect, and as I wrote more blog articles I started to see based on performance and simply through experience, which headlines worked. Once I began writing an email newsletter as well, where the same conditions apply to the subject line of the email, my practice increased, writing both email subjects and blog headlines.

Despite all this experience, and now with over 10 years of writing headlines for articles on websites and other publications, I still don’t feel like I can easily convey how to write good headlines, it’s just such a unique skill that requires significant practice.

However, that’s not going to stop me from putting my best effort in here to pass on what I can to you. Just make sure you get out there and start working on improving your own headlines after reading this because you need the practice.

Blog Headline Writing 101

As I write this article my entire business is run by other people except for two things – writing headlines for the articles published to this blog and email newsletters, which require subject writing.

This happens to be good timing because not for a long time have I focused so much on headline writing. This is why I feel confident enough to write this tutorial now, when it’s so fresh in mind mind.

Let’s start your training with some headline formats…

Top Headline Formats

To begin with I’ll list the most common formats we use for headlines here on Entrepreneurs-Journey and in other writing I do. I won’t go into too much detail as it should be pretty obvious what these are as you will have seen them over and over again. These can be used as templates, and I’ll link to some more specific template resources for headlines at the end of this article too.

The “How” Headline

The “How” headline format is by far the most common headline we use on this blog. This includes the very common “How To Do Something” (don’t over use this) format to any headline that proposes to explain how something happens.

Here are some examples –

The “Why” Headline

The “Why” is the next most common format I use. It’s a good headline format because it opens a door in the readers mind. The headline says why something is important or relevant or secret or effective, but to find out exactly why that is, you have to read the article (walk through the door).

This is called opening a loop, a very effective psychology. You create curiosity by opening a loop that the brain has to close, and in order to do so the article must be read.

New headline writers often make the mistake of closing the loop in the headline, answering the question in the headline before the article is read. Be careful you don’t do this.

“Why” headlines also work fantastically as a stated question, including the all-powerful question mark (?). This is the ultimate open loop – state a question and the reader gets the answer if they read the article.

Here are some examples of “Why” headlines we have used on E-J…

More Open Loops

The “open loop” principle doesn’t have to apply only in “Why” headlines, we use it in all kinds of headlines, especially in question headlines like these…

All of these headlines ask a question with the implication of the answer being in the article. If you relate to what the headline focuses on, you will feel compelled to read the article to find out if it applies to you.

The “Context Phrase: Headline”

This headline format is all about placing a statement or name or phrase just before using a headline with a set of colons to break it apart. Here’s an example to clarify this format of headline –

I really like this style of headline because it allows you to use one or two or three preceding words before a standard how or why or what or any type of headline. The preceding words give context and grab attention, can be used to combine two headlines into one, or bring together together two elements that you just can’t squeeze into one sentence. I like to use them to make headlines more specific, talking about a person or event, followed by the headline that explains what the article is actually about.

Here’s another example…

The “Scam Alert” part of this headline makes it so much more compelling because of the controversy, while the rest of the headline reveals more about what exactly the article is about (and notice again the open loop).

You can use this headline format to make otherwise boring or standard headlines have more zing, simply by adding a couple of powerful words before it. You can also use it to link articles together in a series (see example below).

Here are some more examples from this blog’s archives –

The (Brackets) Headline

The brackets headline is similar to the above colon separated headline where you aim to highlight or combine elements using the brackets as the separator.

The brackets serve to highlight the words contained within, which is usually where you place the element that grabs attention. Often you will find what is in the brackets is what makes the headline much more effective, where what is outside of the brackets is more explanatory of what the article is about.

Here are some examples…

The List Headline

The list headline has always been one of the strongest formats, well used long before the World Wide Web in traditional print media.

Like the “How To” format, the list format is often overused and thus becomes less effective, so be careful.

Generally speaking the numbers 7 or 10 or 3 are my favorites and have proven the most effective. It’s important you use powerful word choice when applying the list format – in other words, the rest of your headline has to be good too otherwise your headline will look like just another top list.

Here are some examples:

Notice you can begin headlines with the number, or personalize the headline using a personal pronoun like “my” or pair it with the ever-effective word “steps” if you are teaching something.

If you like using “steps” and publish a lot of tutorial style articles, a good phrase you can apply is “A Step-By-Step Guide To…”. This works in pretty much every niche.

The Psychology Behind The Words

That pretty much covers the most common headline formats, although there are subtle and countless variations to all of them. In most cases it comes down to good old fashioned brainstorming to come up with the best words once you have the format you are going to apply.

However despite the ease of using template formats, often it’s not enough to simply draw from your headline swipe file every time you publish a blog article. You need some magic, some creativity and some understanding of what will appeal to your audience.

To help you get the final zing into your headlines, here are some psychological triggers and hot points to apply in your blog headline writing.

The Famous Name Technique

Read this headline…

There’s nothing in this headline that actually tells you what the article is about. The publication the headline is used in obviously gives it context (this headline was used on this blog, hence the article must be about business or similar), but the elements in the headline are not related enough to work it out just be reading it alone.

That of course is a curiosity hook – and a good one – but the other key point here is leveraging famous names.

Headlines that use famous names of people or places or events can be very effective. Sometimes they are time sensitive based on when something is particularly newsworthy, although some celebrities or places will always be well-known enough that you can use them anytime.

Although I wouldn’t recommend you go forcing in famous names into your headlines, if there is a name inside the article itself, it’s worth asking yourself if that is the best “hook” to use in the headline.

The Controversy Technique

What’s so powerful about this headline?…

It’s controversial, and that’s what makes it interesting. Similar to the previous point with famous names and places, if you can see an angle in the article itself that is controversial, which can be pulled into the headline, go for it.

Apply Alliteration And Cadence

It’s not always easy to produce alliteration (a repetition of sounds like the rain in spain), but if you can find a way to apply this, or at least have good cadence or flow so your headline “sounds” good, your headline will perform better.

If you’re not naturally good at reading the flow in a headline, find someone who is to give you feedback. Changing just one word can make a huge difference to the way a headline sounds when a person reads it in their head. Chunky headlines that stop and start turn people away. If in doubt, read it out aloud.

Don’t Repeat Formats or Use Mainstream Phrases

You might find yourself researching online for good phrases to use in your headlines. This can work, but often you will find yourself landing on very common vernacular, cliche phrases that by virtue of their common use will turn people away. If your headline is common the assumption is that the article is too.

People thrive on variety, so if they come to your site and see five “how to” headlines in a row, you will start to lose them. Words are always read within the context of the other words and elements around them. Repeat themes too often and they all start to look the same.

Shorter Is Better

We (me and our editor Steph) spend a lot of time during our headline writing brainstorming sessions simply trying to remove words from our headlines. Often taking unnecessary words out of your headline so you are left with only what is mandatory, results in the best headline.

It is difficult to stick to this rule, but nonetheless, it’s a good one. Fewer words make greater impact. There’s more whitespace around fewer words, which focuses attention on the words. There is less to read, so apathy and laziness isn’t going to strike. It just works.

Avoid Passive Tense

Your headlines should be in active tense, not passive. If you see an “ing” word, like for example “Planning”, it should be made active, like “Plan”. It takes some practice, but eventually you will start to see passive tense and it will annoy you.

For example the headline of this article you are reading now could have been stated as –

When I see the word “Writing” I know that should be “Write”, but you have to be careful to spot the right words to make active – it’s not a rule to apply in every instance. For example you may have noticed the word “Winning” in the headline too, which doesn’t need to be changed to “Win” or “Won”, it just wouldn’t make sense.

Once you get a feel for this you will automatically see how best to switch words from passive to active, often converting them to a popular format like a “How To” or a “Why” headline. In this case the headline works much better as –

This was by far the most common mistake I made during the first few years of this blog when writing headlines. You will find quite a number of passive headlines in the archives, which I think reflects both my lack of confidence and lack of understanding of good headline writing.

Focus On The Reader

As I mentioned recently in – 7 Blogging Tips You Can Apply Today – point number 5 stated you should write as if you are talking to one person. This applies to headlines as well.

Often a well placed “You” or “Your” into a headline will make it more personal and more attention grabbing because it speaks directly to the reader. Teach people how to improve their life (as in YOUR life) and they will pay a lot more attention.

How About Keywords For Search Engines?

You may have noticed I haven’t even mentioned search engine considerations and whether you should work to get primary and secondary keywords in your headlines for the sake of SEO.

Obviously SEO is important, but it’s secondary to whether a reader actually reads the headline and article. I recommend the use of the “title tag” input box if you are a wordpress user, which allows you to set a title (the bit that appears in search results and sits at the top of the browser bar when you read an article), if you want to specifically target keywords for search traffic.

The End Of The Beginning

You now have a basic framework to begin with. There’s a lot more you can study when it comes to headlines, but as I stated earlier, practice is more important than study, so get out there and create articles that need headlines.

Later in the week E-J columnist Leevi Romanik will begin a headline writing series, so you will have another perspective and tutorial on how to write good headlines from him. I will add the link here as soon as he has finished his series.

If you need more headline templates, I recommend Chris Garrett’s 102 Proven Social Media Headline Formulas.

If you want to really jump in and study more on headlines, Brian Clark has a great series on How to Write Magnetic Headlines at CopyBlogger.com.

Good luck with your headlines!

Yaro Starak
Headliner

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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102 Comments

  • Thanks Yaro, amazing how that happens. Have been thinking how I’m going to go about revamping the copy and headlines on my site (and feeling totally out of my depth) and an hour or so later your mail arrives :)

  • Nice job Yaro, very detailed and useful.

    Of course, if you are writing for SEO the rules change, but for actually creating a readership this is great advice.

    • I wouldn’t say the rules change, you just add some more rules to the mix with SEO considerations included.

      Glad you liked the article Ron!

  • Awesome post and just came in at the right time when you run out of ideas . Thanks Yaro

  • Wow, Yaro! Excellent article with great detail. It really shows “how to” write better headline articles.

    Thanks for doing this!

    Robert

  • Wow, Yaro. That is one very thorough article on this topic.

    Just to expand on your point about using few words, some of the best headlines (most memorable in history) aren’t just short in word length, but word syllable – Like, “Let It Be”. It’s actually pretty hard (quite a skill) to get an effective headline, that’s short and full of one-syllable words. I challenge you for you next headline!

    Question: When you thought about “award winning” in this headline, did you think about the need to back up that claim, by talking about awards having been won?

    • I was wondering if anyone would pick me up on the “award winning” part of the headline, Lina :-)

      I considered adding a PS to the end of the article to explain as far as I know there are no awards for blog headlines, but I’m sure if there were E-J would have won a couple by now ;-)

      I think lots of tweets, facebook shares and unique visitors is a good “award” too.

      Yaro

  • I’m like you – I was about to buy some books on copywriting and writing headlines but I’m sure they would be booooorrrrring! I started asking myself recently “why did I open that email and not that one?” or “why did I read that and not this? Of course, it’s the headlines!

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Thanks for this Yaro – there are so many gems in here, this one will get printed out and read again and agan. Awesome! Love it! Cheers

  • Wow, Yaro, your teachings are amazing and incredible, i will add a few lessons to what you taught me today and try to improve on my SEO skills,its worth knowing that the more you write the more creative you become espcially in the area of writing Headlines

  • Yaro, fantastic explanation on headlines, everyone needs to consider how they write their heading. It’s so important to consider the reader as they will decide if they will read past the first paragraph.

  • ES

    Nice in-depth article Yaro. What do you think about a heading that has only the keyword its supposed to target? I see some people using this.

    • Hi ES – Targeting keywords is fine, but you have to remember it is a human being who does the search at the end of the day. If they search and the title doesn’t compel them to click, it doesn’t matter how high in the rankings the article is.

      It’s best to merry the two concepts together as much you can.

  • Having headline that ask guest ion are some of the best to make, it just prompt people on clicking the link.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Wow, this is really amazing, Yaro!

  • Hi Yaro

    A great post. I agree with everything you are saying. Though I might have missed it? tapping into the need of your market makes a huge difference for me. Especially in the niche sites I have. As an NLP student ( a long-time ago) I was always encouraged not to use words like Must or Should. Yet when it comes to headlines they work like crazy! I have a few posts that get >3000 hits a month. They normally start with.
    3 Things You Must……………

    The away from pattern works so well and as a rule of thumb always performs better. How to avoid Debt works better then How to make a million. Bizarre yet true.

    Best Wishes

    Denise

    • Yes great points Denise. Perhaps unfortunately we are much more likely to react to the fear of loss rather than motivated by the potential for gain. So as you said, we will do things to avoid pain rather than work for pleasure, at least when it comes to good headlines!

      That’s a psychology point I didn’t cover in this article but I’ve had something come to my attention that perfectly highlights this point, which I think I will publish in a future article.

  • Great post Yaro. I always get useful information from your blog.

  • Great work Yaro!

    You shared useful details about “How To… Blog Headlines” that I hope will help any owner of a blog to be a bit more closer to a professional blogger.

    Thank you for your good intention and for the results obtained with this helpful article,
    Doru

  • Yaro, Absolutely fabulous post! Great information on a topic that is so important to blog growth. I appreciated all the examples you used. It helps to see them visually. Thanx so much

  • It is very comprehensive tips. One question: is there any limitation the length of the headline, Yaro. You mentioned that the shorter is better but sometime is very difficut to make a short headline when I want to tell about some branded item that using long name.

    Thank you

    • I don’t think there is any limitation, but the longer it is the less likely people will read it.

      The same goes for any paragraph or sentence. Short gets read more often than long, especially online where attention spans are fleeting.

  • Thanks Yaro for the very well structured and informative content. Definately this steps should help some one who wants to write a compelling article.

  • Really great suggestions that you offered here. Having a good headlines is the most important aspect of having a great blog post and receiving the clicks that you are looking for.

  • Melissa Miller

    I will definitely bookmark this page! Great ideas for great headlines! I also get inspiration for good headlines from those Consumer Reports direct mail promotions. It never fails…I always end up buying whatever they’re selling!

  • This is an awesome post indeed!. Couldn’t agree the more with what’s been mentioned in this article that practice makes perfect and then one should focus on creating a headline that open the loop so to speak.
    I also like the fact that many people choose to emphasize on writing a header that is more gear towards search engine friendly rather than for human readership.
    This is by and far the best article on header and title writing technique which is plain simple to follow, effective and time tested!

  • Thanks, Yaro! Great advice. Writing for SEO does change the game a bit, as one other reader pointed out, but otherwise I found your ideas extremely helpful.

  • Excellent. I’m a big fan of the how/why, but these are all great tips.

  • Superkiller Article!! You Rock Yaro.. thanks so much for sharing. I just realized that I used the “Why” headline today… so I feel like I’m learning;)

  • You make a great point Yaro the headline is the first thing that grabs your attention. And in the case of SEO you need the perfect keywords to reel them in and keep your site relevant. But I think your headline is attention grabbing enough haha

  • Hey Yaro,

    Awesome tips! As you say, to get readers you have to have an enticing title. When it comes to getting readers online, being good at writing is not enough.

    In regards to SEO and using keywords, I’d like to add to WP users that the title tag Yaro mentions can be found in your SEO plugin. For instance, with SEO All In One plugin, you enter your keyword targeted title in the plugin’s title box (on your posting page).

    Thanks for this Yaro…will apply these as much as possible from now on.
    Louise

    • Thanks for the contribution Louise – I might think about putting together a video tutorial or at least some screen shots in an article to show people how to make use of the title tag function in WordPress and how it differs from the headline.

      I don’t personally use the title tag field for every article (for example I did not for this article), but sometimes when the headline is keyword poor I do.

  • I like the way you covered the different types of headlines, I have a tendency to go towards the list headline too often, but I try to diversify and the way you broke it up will help me do that.

  • Hi Yaro, great post and so timely. I was just sitting down to write a headline for a report I have just written and was somehow getting lost.

  • Your right when you talk about the importance of a post title.

    When I am browsing blogs I find it amazing how some posts just jump out and grab you.

    I think a lot of times bloggers over focus on the SEO aspects of post titles and forget about the reader. I sure fail at writing winning post titles at times so I really liked the copy and paste aspect of this post.

  • This has always been the hard part for me when it comes to writing a headline I sink and quick. Thanks for the incite, I will definitely be following your tips.

  • now that is really relevant topic! the very first impression is title of course and it should be at least interesting to motivate a visitor to read the entire article. second important is the very first paragraph (well for me for sure). basically it is really easy to figure out if an article is written for seo purpose or an author has something to say. now back to the headings – that is really good advice to read what u have written and than think directly on title. by the way it becomes critical when u’re using soc. networks to promote ur blog (say twitter) you have to generate several headings on the same article to make people click on the link and at the same time not to make them bounce off the site – title has to be relevant in every case.

  • Good stuff. “Alliterative” means 2 or more words starting with the same letter.

  • This is great information and something I desperately need to learn. When I look at the headlines I’ve created for articles or posts, I usually cringe. Looking forward to further teaching and will check out the links you have provided.

  • Hi Yaro, great post with great information. I’m a fan of the list headlines too but will mix it up a little more after reading your post. Liking to “open loop” headline too. Thanks

  • I was wondering if the reactions to headlines change over time. Recently I am finding more and more headlines which should psychologically trigger the reader to read the article, but I have a feeling that these are more for manipulation. For that matter, many times the headline is much better than the article itself.

  • Hi Yaro

    Thanks for the exhaustive run-through of headlines types, whys and hows. You make a good point about about mixing styles; we do tend to stick with one way of writing, because it’s what we like ourselves.

    Great additional links too – lots of reading! Thank you.

    Anthony

  • It’s so much easier to focus on the substance of one’s article and to overlook the importance of the headline. Thank you, Yaro, for bringing this matter into perspective. So much to learn and to apply…

  • This is a fabulous article and it is chalked full of awesome ideas and inspiration Yaro.

    I must say though, I write articles backwards! Yup, I start with my keyword tool and throw in a couple of my keywords and get ideas from what I find in the results. That way, I’m building wonderful blog titles, giving me ideas of what to write about and optimizing my titles at the same time.

    All your examples are a fantastic checklist that I will certainly share with my fans, followers and clients. Appreciate the effort here Yaro, really great information!

  • Solid work here Yaro, as usual. I spent days on your Entrepreneurs Journey Blog before I ever wrote word one of my own blog. Your headline article spells out what might, at first, seem obvious, in very easy to understand terms.

    I like the subject of compelling headlines to create readers, to get people to stay on page. What are your thoughts on keyword rich headlines to garner high search rankings? I find myself opting for what I think is the best headline for search, not the best in order to appeal to the psyche of my readers. Thoughts on that?

    • Search is important and an area I’d like to improve on myself. Traffic on this site has remained rather level for years, although we attract many people, most of them are search visitors who only want to read the one article. Luckily I capture some of them into my email list, so they are not “lost” completely.

      I’ve always focused on the content of the article and the effectiveness of the headline as a tool to convince the reader to read the article. Keywords have always come second.

      As I wrote above, balance is key here. I’m not afraid to tweak things for keywords were necessary, but in my experience, someone sharing an article they read from start to finish because of the good headline and good content is the most important outcome.

  • Hi Yaro,
    When I first started my blog I didn’t even know what a proper headline was. Now I can see the importance and also some very good models on proper headline techniques.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Thanks for your valuable information. Funnily enough, I decided to improve my headline writing a few weeks back and fell onto a series of articles from copyblogger which you recommend in your post.

    I mention copyblogger because I don’t see it as your competitor but as another high quality site in my online entrepreneur portfolio.

    For our own subscribers, I have created a video (2.5 minutes) summarizing key points anyone should know about writing headlines, based on what I learnt in the above articles.

    It’s not that headlines are a minority sport. All of us, many times unconsciously, write headlines all the time: when we send an email to the boss, brand ourselves in LinkedIn or Facebook, send letters to customers, suppliers, etc.

    Statistics show that out of 10 people, only 2 will actually go on to read what we have to say!

    So Yaro, opening a headlines discussion is most appropriate. And it gives me the opportunity to create a second video clip, referring to your blog post, this time :-)

    For people who wish to see the 2 minute video, please do so by clicking on the above link. It’s free for sharing, embedding, podcasting.

    Take care. Doris

  • Great stuff Yaro. Pretty comprehensive, too.

    And heh.. I remember how you once said to me you hate copywriting. After reading this, I’m not sure that’s 100% true! :) Definitely a lot of the same principles at play here…

    • I still hate it Juho, but I still like blogging :-)

  • Anu

    Great article. haven’t seen a better post on this topic anywhere.

  • Bravo Yaro. Headlines of blog post and articles plays a vital role in article marketing and also affiliate marketing. Attractive and well structured headline will definitely invite more visitors and there is a very high chance of building a list of loyal readership. Keep up the good job buddy

    Cheers

    NgPillai

  • Nice write up. But in the case of tech related niche, like ‘ how to ‘ style articles, similar titles come up frequently.

  • fas

    Awesome post, awesome tips..! Now I know how to attract more attention with these headlines!

  • I love this article. For a while, I’ve been thinking about my blog. I’ve kinda abandon it just a bit, but I’m eventually will become more committal writing my blog. I can do two a week. I had so many ideals, good ones, but not enough clarity. Now, I’ve got it. Do you I should start a new blog or just revamp the one I have now? After reading this blog, I just may change some headlines around…mmmm… still thinking. I guess this blog spark it .

  • Hey Yaro,

    Far out you go into great depth in this post on a subject that bloggers really do need to learn, lord knows I need some education on this area! LOL
    I have learn’t a lot from this post!
    Thanks,
    Billee Brady

  • Absolutely agree with what you say about creative sparks when coming to headline creation. I have exactly had this feel when I get questions from my subscribers and readers asking me about writing headlines.

    I just made a post about what templates are quite successful and get clicks, but it is really hard to “teach” someone how to do it. It’s just a creativity trait.

  • This is a great blog post. I have always wanted to master the art of writing headlines.
    This resource has made my adventure very simple and fun.

    Please Yaro, can you make a post on “how to write the first paragraph of a post?”
    I really need to understand the concepts behind it. I’m already subscribed to your posts,
    so I would definitely be notified once it’s live.

    Thank you.

  • I do believe that headlines are essential for grabbing the readers attention, however, I feel as though perception of the blog/writer plays an even bigger role.

    Many people perceive you to be an expert in the arena of blogging, therefore, your headlines hold much more wieght than a novice or somewhat experienced blogger.

    I say this because I have been studying many blogs for the past couple of months and I noticed that similar articles or even articles with the same title on different blogs get very different responses.

    I am sure there are other things at play here, such as marketing, SEO, and the personality of the blogger, yet, I don’t think people realize how much their perception of a blogger enhances their opinion of everything centered around that blogger.

    Just my opinion,

    Kendra~

    • Hi Kendra,

      You raise a good point, the perception of the writer/blogger not to mention the existing audience who already read the site will impact performance, so you can’t exactly compare one article on one blog with the same headline as another article on another blog, there are just too many variables at play.

      Everyone starts as a nobody however, so to give yourself the best chance of manufacturing that good perception, good headlines is the fist step.

  • Great post, needed something like this to come along and help me with my blog headlines and some amazing tips that will help my blog come more to life thnaks again for this share

  • Hi Yaro,

    Great post and what perfect timing, I definitely need some help in this area, will take all of your suggestions into account.

    Thanks

    Grainne

  • Yet another day I learned something of value. I especially appreciate the “passive” vs. “active” tense section – many of my headlines have been written n the passive tense.

    While in school, my old journalism teacher enforced the thought of writing your story first then creating a title.

  • Thanks for the different type of post headlines, very informative.

    It’s very true, the Title of your Blog is very important. If your title doesn’t grab your potential readers attention, then they are off to another bloggers site.

    I’m going to try out some of these variations and check my results.

  • Hi Yaro,

    What another amazing post! 3000+ words with 10 year of blogging background and clear actionable techniques to write great headlines.

    I enjoy reading your writing style and in this article I’ve liked things such:
    – keep it short and sweet (interestingly it takes much more time and effort to make things short and simple like your article proves it)
    – opening loop. Definitely an a-ha moment for me here
    – headline templates

    This is defintely one of the articles I print out and refer to. Thanks for sharing your experience and expertise.

    Cheers,

  • Hi Yaro! Thanks for the tips! :) Blog headlines can drive readers or send them away. It is a must to follow all your tips. I hope I can be as successful as you in the future.

  • Hello Yaro,
    I have followed almost all your news letters and articles you’ve sent me in my email and have enjoyed reading every bit of it. In fact, I may not have know you that much but I can say I have followed every bit of advice you have recommended to me since I read about you.

    More so, I have some personal question I have for you and though this space might not be the appropriate forum to address it, I will very much appreciate if you get back to me.

    I am a college drop out and have bought a couple of blogging program and have tried all I could but have never made anything more than $10 online since I started blogging 5years ago. However, after reading about you and your mentoring blog mastermind programme I can’t no more desire to be part of it.

    In fact, even though I come from Africa, I will never cry of the registration fee for I do know that good education just like you are offering cost money.

    Yaro, please I have a dream, yeah I have a dream like any other person has but my dream is for the youth in my city and country-there are high graduate turn over but less job and I see blogging as the future for a better live for us all. However, I have a major challenge and that is,”how to become successful” so that the many youth I want to educate about this can believe in me since they want to see what I have to show for why I want them all to bog.

    Please Yaro, I can’t think of anything else but blogging ever since I walked out of college after reading your sales letter and believing that blogging is the way to liberate our youth. Please I am willing to REGISTER in your program and GIVE MY ALL TO SEE RESULTS BECAUSE I BELIEVE. Will your program help me when I put in my all? I am willing to pay but I need to get your assurance so that those that laugh me to scorn will come to understand what the internet can do for the youth of Africa.

    Please I need you Yaro and any member of your team to have a one on one chat with me or may be get a contact that I can meet you for further discussion to satisfy my curiosity and build my confidence and hope I have in this program.

    Finally, I will appreciate if you check my profile on my blog to get to know more about my passion and dream. I hope to hear from you soon and sorry if I might have drifted away from what I was supossed to comment on.

    • Hello King James,

      Thanks for your message. If you have such a strong dream you should channel that energy into hard work every day on your blog.

      Have you done market research to make sure your blog is in a good niche?
      Do you write every day?
      Do you do at least one guest post a week?
      Do you do other link building activities?

      All of the information on how to do these things is in this blog. The rest of the work is up to you. Taking my course may help you, but it’s just more information about how to do these things. If you don’t do them and do them every day it doesn’t matter how many courses you join you won’t succeed.

      Good luck!

  • Great article, Yaro. Only this week I discovered that blog posts on my site with clear and simplified titles were getting ALL the traffic.

    I’ve been at this for exactly 1 month and have already gained steady traffic of about 10 unique visitors a day. But regardless of where they come from, they all end up on the same post with the title “10 Things Never To Shoot Without”

    All my well intentioned attempts to ‘lure the reader in’ with provocative or clever headlines has failed.

    I’ve learned that you have to give the reader a clear and personal reason to read the blog post. “Tell me what this is about and why I should read it”

    Including a ‘why’ or a ‘how’ is a simple shortcut that makes the reader read the title in a ‘how do I apply this to me’ context.

    Your post today not only confirmed what I was thinking, but you offered great solutions. I really appreciate that.

    I will also comment that I’m leery ‘get rich online’ blog sites, but your titles always seem to say ‘here is something concrete you can learn and apply’. This have given you more credibility to me (because you can get traffic even from cynical me) than even your convincing testimonials.

  • Awesome article thanks for sharing. It’s amazing how some IM can write really effective headlines that always make me want to open their email/read their article! You’ve got some great tips in here that I can’t wait to apply. I especially like the “how to” section. Can’t go wrong there!

  • Dean

    Wow! That was a comprehensive post!

    I have always fought the battle between a headline that captures keywords or phrases and a headline that I consider artful. For instance, I wrote a post about my first trip to Paris. I called it “Piss Poor in a Puddle of Pee”. I love it but it doesn’t tell you much and it sure doesn’t make love to SEO. In the end I think art will still win because more often than not, good SEO in the headline doesn’t have sex. You know what I mean?

    Dean
    http://leftcoastguy.com

  • Good writeup as usual Yaro, especially on the magic of using headlines to draw the reader in. Many people spend alot more time on content than the hook of getting the reader interested in the first place.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

  • […] How To Write Award Winning Blog Headlines – input from an experienced affiliate marketer […]

  • I definitely agree Yaro. It’s really important that you provide good headlines when you are writing blog content. By doing this, you get to let people see that your posts are important.

    – Jack Leak

  • Yarro

    Headlines are critical… but knowing your audience is critical too. You will soon kill off an audience if headlines directed at a particular audience are not in sync. I once used a headline I borrowed from Eben Pagan and it bombed badly because my audience considered the headline trashy. Consider your audience first… then write the headline.

  • Hey Yaro – now that you’ve pointed out the meta-thinking behind headlines, it’s become a whole lot clearer to me. Thanks for that. We’ll share your article with our list.

  • […] into the specifics.  But if you want to learn more, I recommend this article by Yaro Starak on How to Write Award Winning Blog Headlines.  Danny Iny has a great article called Writing to Attract, Retain and Engage.  These two […]

  • Of course the “How to…” format in the headline has a lot of success, :). I have ignored this, but you’re perfectly right with all you said in this wonderfully useful post.

  • Yaro,

    This is by far one of the best and easiest to follow “headline” posts I have read so far. And, I might add, I was pleasantly surprised to have already done a few of these on my own without any direction.

    I am starting to get regular readers so many times I focus not on writing for just some random person. I focus on what my main readers may like, which most times are my target audience, but not always.

    I am glad I read your email this week because this is definitely a very helpful post that I surely will be sharing many times over.

    ~Allie

  • […] actually found a recent blog by Yaro Starak, “How To Write Award Winning Blog Headlines” at http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/7668/how-to-write-award-winning-blog-headlines/print/ that is an honest introduction to writing headlines you can use as a basis for your swipe […]

  • You have answered most of the questions I had about writing a headline.I have used “HOW” and list articles as headlines for my blog posts and results were great.Thanks for this article.

  • Thanks, Yaro! This will help me greatly. I always strugle with headlines.

  • […] How To Write Award Winning Blog Headlines – input from an experienced affiliate marketer […]

  • […] How To Write Award Winning Blog Headlines (entrepreneurs-journey.com) […]

  • I like the how-to headlines because it makes your copy helpful. Readers usually like to pick up a few tips while they are eating, waiting in a restaurant or traveling.

  • […] an idea of how to write a good headline, check out Entrepreneur-Journey’s guide on “How to Write Award Winning Blog Headlines” to understand why certain headlines […]

  • Hmm. Grammar-wise, I thought that the passive and active form of a headline would be (for example):
    “How This Headine Was Written”
    vs.
    “How I Wrote This Headline”

    I never saw
    “Write Headlines Like This”
    as active and
    “Writing Headlines Like This”
    as passive. I thought that’s more like using verbs rather than gerunds (present participle form). Am I missing something? (English is my second language)

  • Hey Yaro,

    This is great advice – I’ve been thinking more lately about what headlines actually seem to catch my attention. I have an app called ‘Zite’ on my iPad which integrates news and blogs in one nice magazine style format – I can recommend it – but reading via that I have noticed the headlines more.

    Previously when trying to create better headlines all I could come up with was trying to see it via the eyes of a reader (i.e. what’s in it for them/why should they read this) rather than my own (i.e. what do I want to say). That helps too.

    thanks again for sharing this,
    Alan

  • The best way to write online headlines is to give your reader some sort of news that they will benefit from but also make them fell as if you’ve left something out so they want to find out more.

  • […] How To Write Award Winning Blog Headlines. […]

  • Thanks for the article – It’s amazing how much headings are like teasers to encourage people to read…

    If they don’t get past the heading, all that hard work in the blog won’t help anyone.

  • […] Entrepreneur’s-Journey.com’s post on award winning headlines […]

  • Thanks Yaro. I loved this article on blog headlines. I’ll definitely be taking this advice on board with my future blog posts and also be sharing your post with my subscribers.

    All The Best

  • Using words in your headlines that make them more personal helps get your message read. Thanks for sharing.

  • […] to reach out and grab the reader by the collar, strapping them in for a rocket-powered ride. Your headline should be fuel for an explosive lead, wowing the reader with the massive thrust of your […]

  • […] “Why” headlines also work fantastically as a stated question, including the all-powerful question mark (?). This is the ultimate open loop – state a question and the reader gets the answer if they read the article.” – Yaro Starak via Entrepreneurs-Journey […]

  • […] The headline is one of the most important parts of your news release. Your primary keyword should be included and it should not be longer than 170 […]

  • A true gift to the blogging community! Thank you!

  • Hey Yaro! Thanks for this post, it was very helpful. Sometimes, I would write “how to” posts on my blog not even knowing the theory behind it. I’d just do it because it stemmed from an idea. This really opens up some other ideas in my head for blog and article writing. Again thanks!

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