This month marks the third year that I've been blogging. One of the biggest lessons I've learned along the way is the importance of writing headlines that capture the reader's attention and make her want to click-through and read.

It can be a tall challenge to cram the essence of your blog post into a handful of words, but it's an art worth perfecting if you want to break-through the noise and capture people's attention.

While I've definitely improved my headline-writing skills over the years, I'm always on the look-out for tips that will help me hone my craft. In addition to analyzing headlines on viral blog posts --an exercise I highly recommend you try -- I also like to glean strategies from books and articles. One book that covers this topic very well is Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience, by Pamela Wilson. Wilson is the former Executive VP of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital and Copyblogger.

In her book she devotes an entire chapter to sharing her advice for writing headlines that get people to click and share. In the latter part of the chapter, she shares ten "all-time winning headline formulas."

Here are 5 headline formulas you can consider as you write your next blog post:

1. How-to Headlines

Why they work:

  • They promise a result.
  • They empower the reader.

Examples:

  • How to Master______in X Simple Steps
  • How to [Achieve This Desirable Result] in Less than X Minutes a Day
  • How to [Do This Bold Thing], [Do This other Bold Thing], and [Get This Bold Result]

2. List or Number Headlines

Why they work:

  • They're specific.
  • They promise digestible information (make the main points into subheads and number them so they're easy to follow).

Examples:

  • X Surprising Tips That Will Transform Your Approach to_______
  • X Secrets That Professional________Don't Want You to Know
  • X Simple Ways to Get [This Attractive Result]

3. Colon Headlines

Why they work:

  • They fit two approaches into one headline: factural and emotional
  • They allow you to list your keyword at the front and enticing information toward the end

Examples:

  • [Content Topic]: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need
  • [Content Topic]: An Alternative Approach That Really Works
  • [Content Topic]: How to [Get This Result] on a Tiny Budget

4. Transformation Headlines

Why they work:

  • They promise to take the reader from point A to point B.
  • The reader expects an interesting story and wants to find out more.

Examples:

  • How I Went from Failing at [Topic] to Earning [X] as a [Topic] Expert
  • From [Uninteresting Career] to [Desirable Career]: One Woman's Riveting Journey
  • X Outrageously Simple Ways to Take [Undesirable State] and Turn It Into [Desirable State]

5. Question Headlines

Why they work:

  • They appeal to beginners, who might have these exact questions running through their heads.
  • They appeal to people who are looking for the definitive answer to a question.

Examples:

  • Are You Ready for the Changing [Your Topic] Environment?
  • How Often Should You [Maintenance Task Related to Your Topic]?
  • Is Your [Topic] Broken? (Here's How to Fix It)
Published on: May 26, 2017