Test.

Write a number of headlines for every article and test. It IS that simple.

The only way to write a great headline is to test it. You start with an idea of how you can catch the reader’s attention and persuade him or her to read the first sentence. That’s it.

Maybe you were expecting a formula? I apologize if you did. But it doesn’t work like that. You probably have seen various formulas and by now are asking yourself, ’how can it not work’.

Formulas don’t work because you don’t know how to use them.  If you are searching for answers on how to write a great headline, formulas won’t work for you.

First, you must know your audience. Their pain points. Even if you write fiction for teenage girls, you still need to know what bugs them day in and day out. If you don’t know your audience, test.

Where? How?

If you have an audience, A/B testing will solve all your headline creating problems.

A/B testing
If you are starting out as a blogger and don’t have an audience yet, see what pain points do other websites focus on. But don’t copy their headlines. Not because they don’t work. They probably do.

But the end result should not be you writing one good headline, or even one great headline, but develop a skill of constantly coming up with a range of superb headlines which you can test.

Here’s an action point to help you get started:
Next time you are writing something, come up with a a big promise for the reader.
Write the headline. Now write 4 more delivering the same promise in a different way (add Only Today! Or My Secret Ingredient). Try promising a bit more and a bit less. You don’t need to stress over it too much. For now.

dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie ” How to make friends and influence people”

Now, write the article. Keep coming back to the headline. Make sure you keep your promise. Ideally, you would let your copy sit for an hour or a day and come back to it, reread and adjust the headline.
Remember, the headline must grab attention. But there are many ways you can do that. You can shock, scare or simply promise. Dale Carnegie promised to teach” How to make friends and influence people”. Look how that turned out for him.

And eventually, if you are completely honest with yourself, just ask: “would I read this article?”.