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  • Anthony Brown

How Beginner Writers Can Avoid the Biggest Headline Mistakes using These 13 Points

Updated: Oct 2, 2019



Does your headline...


1. Have focus on why the reader should care?


Why should your reader care? What's in it for them?


Focus on the benefit of what they will learn, make sure the headline is targeted for your niche audience.


In this article I am focusing on beginner writers and how they can use these 13 points to avoid the biggest headline mistakes.


Pretty clear and pretty focused, huh?


2. Shows clarity and promise.


Ok, let me unpack this one. Your headline should be specific and clear on the information contained within the article.


Again, where are we taking the reader? Somewhere they want to go? If so, then they will follow along to the end.


3. Your headline should contain emotional hooks.


Huh, what? "What is an emotional hook?" you say.


An emotional hook is going to provide the reader with something to feel, enjoy, learn, or even fear.


In my headline I used the word "Mistakes", that tells the reader if you don't read this article you may be in trouble and make mistakes with your headlines.


It creates an emotional response inside of you.


4. Provoke curiosity


There is a difference between clickbait and creating curiosity to draw a reader into your article.


Clickbait:

  • 10 disastrous mistakes writers make

Curiosity:

  • How you can avoid these top 10 writing mistakes in your blog articles

Now both would probably make you click if you want anything at all. However, the second headline uses the word "How" which peaks curiosity in how you can avoid the 10 mistakes.


Also the it is more specific with a focus on blog articles, that presents the potential reader with a target audience, and provides more of a trust factor.




Continuing on you are probably glad I am providing some explanations behind each point, right?


Well that brings me to my next point...


Does your headline...


5. Provide explanations?


It probably wouldn't be much help to state "Do these 13 things in your headlines".


You need to provide context for your reader in your headline, what are you trying to get them to do? What are the things?


See how this doesn't provide enough curiosity and how it's not specific enough.


6. Appeal to a tribe


This should go without saying, but you need to appeal to a specific niche.


Your audience is not everyone, and if it is , it is no one.


7. Have one of these? Utility, entertainment or emotional payoff?


Your headline should be useful, funny or interesting enough to generate an emotion in your reader.


8. Provide shareable information (Would you tell your friends about it?)


If you don't feel what you wrote as a headline is valuable enough to even share with friends, then why would a stranger care?


9. Align with the message of your piece?


When someone finally reads the article will the headline be congruent with the article content?


10. Avoid being a downer?


You don't want to paint people into a corner and essentially make them lose hope.


They will not even click on the article if they feel it will make them feel bad.


11. Avoid cleverness and cuteness (Beware of puns!)


While funny, the tabloids are the best place for them, not your informative and authority article.


This is a quick way to lose credibility.


Unless your a comedian, stay away.

12. Replace generic, vague or cryptic language in your headlines.


Examples:

  • INCLUDE YOUR CHILDREN WHEN BAKING COOKIES

  • LACK OF BRAINS HINDERS RESEARCH

This may work in local news headlines, but online it might as well be satire and surely does not connect with a specific audience.


13. Cut out unnecessary words, jargon and abbreviations.


Read your headline out loud a few times. Is it easy to say? Or do you get tripped up on a word or two?


Are there any acronyms that would not be understood without inside knowledge?


This is especially true if your audience could include beginners in your specific niche.



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