Five Mistakes to Avoid when Writing a Headline

 Writing a great headline means extending an enticing invitation to a potential reader. It’s not the whole story, nor is it an attempt to convince anyone to do anything other than to keep reading.

That being said, it seems the blogging world is littered with poorly-crafted headlines. While many contain one or more necessary elements, other factors are often left out of the headline, diminishing the overall power of your articles.

Here are five common mistakes that people make when writing headlines, which also serve as checklist items for you to take into account when creating your own.

1. No Reader Benefit

No communicated benefit for the reader, no readers. Simple as that.

The expressed benefit does not have to be over-the-top – that’s called click-baiting, and it’s kind of frowned upon in the Internet community. Your headline only needs to be relevant and worth the time required to keep reading.

How to avoid: Ask yourself “what’s in it for them?” If the headline doesn’t tell you, it’s missing a benefit.

2. Lack of Curiosity

Even if the headline contains a benefit, often it’s not presented in a compelling manner.

You must make a visitor curious to read more.

How to avoid: Does your headline make you have to know what the promised answer is? Use questions, numbers, challenges and statements that compel the prospective reader to explore the beneficial content you’re offering.

3. Lack of Specificity

Headlines that lack specificity are short on clarity, and general statements and unsupported claims are often deemed untrustworthy.

The power of specificity is one of the reasons that the “list” headline is so popular among bloggers. The format itself forces you to provide specificity, which the reader in turn responds favorably to.

How to avoid: Use variations of the “list” headline, use words like “this,” “these,” “here is” and “here are” to refer specifically to your content, and also use hard numbers and exact percentages.

4. Lack of Simplicity

Have you ever seen a headline that tries to say too much? It becomes a story instead of a teaser that leads you into the content, often while trying to communicate multiple concepts.

Simplicity if one of the most important aspects of effective communication that resonates with readers, and this is especially true when it comes to headlines.

How to avoid: Stick to one concept, eliminate unnecessary words, and use familiar language.

5. No Sense of Urgency

Some headlines make you want to read the content, but you decide to put it off until later. And then you often never get around to reading it, right?

Headlines that contain the above four elements should also create a sense of urgency and prompt the reader to act immediately, but you should also keep this mistake in mind.

Does your headline make visitors want to read your post now? As in, right here, right now?

How to avoid: Check to see that items 1-4 above are truly present. If so, try reworking the headline to make it more compelling without stepping too far into hyperbole.


There are certainly other ways to sabotage a headline, and I’ve tried them all at least a couple times.

But when you lack one of the above elements, your odds of a great headline are greatly diminished.


If you’re interested in learning more about writing a fantastic headline, you can check out this tutorial on our patreon page.

The Art of Crafting a Brilliant Headline

Admit it. You’ve worked and worked on your blog post. You genuinely believe in your words, and you are sure your readers will benefit greatly by reading them.

But now you’re stuck.

You just don’t know what headline to use. You have a few variants, but they just don’t sound good enough.

Should you hoist the white flag, publish it with a lousy title, and hope for the best?

Well, you might have heard that 8 out of 10 people never read past the headline.

These figures underline the importance of headlines, and how short our attention spans have become.

There Are a Lot of Fish in the Pond

Every single day, millions and millions of blog posts are published. So your headline must stand out. Grab attention. Make folks curious.

But how?

Do not fret, for this tutorial shows you what headline to use (and when).

Let’s get started …

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD PDF

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10 thoughts on “Five Mistakes to Avoid when Writing a Headline

  1. Thank you for these tips!
    Funny thing, I was just thinking about this today, and how to make sure I’m writing good headlines. I’m a ‘newbie’ blogger and yikes it’s a pretty big learning curve….
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! As a beginner blogger, I tend to forget how important headlines are. I’m glad I found your blog to help. Thank you for your tips :).

    Liked by 1 person

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