In the explosion of media, each individual is more likely to be bombarded with a lot of information and gradually, people become more selective in choosing the piece of information they want to read. They tend to skim through as many as headlines as possible and just stop at the one that genuinely interest them. The real question is, how do you make their eyes stop at your article in the jungle of articles like what is shown in the Google Reader? How do you want your article to really stand out and attract people to click and read on the actual content? The answer is quite simply, creating a viral headline.
Viral headlines engage people to click on your article. Viral headlines engage the audience to start discussing and remember about your content so well that they will spread to the Internet and promote the content for free. Almost anyone can make the headlines. However, not a lot of people hold the secret of creating the viral headlines and in this post, I will reveal that secret for you.
The purpose of viral headlines
- Grab people attention: Your headline, no matter how it’s long or short, should do its basic function first, captures people attention. An ineffective headline would make your article look like other articles that people just want to skim through and ignore it. If you believe your content is very useful and everyone should read it, you better make your headlines to be outstanding.
- Engage the audience in the content body: The viral headlines should not only attract people attention, but also encourage them to click on and explore your content. For example, I read an article on Copyblogger about “Is Commenting on Blogs a Smart Traffic Strategy” and I felt so engaged right away. It’s because I know blog commenting can bring some traffic and create the connection with the blog owner. However, the author of this article presented a total different viewpoint and it made me so enthusiastic to comment out what I thought about this issue.
- Convert loyal readers: The viral headlines should not attract people for once. Viral headlines are created to last forever and imprint into people mind. The third purpose of creating the viral headlines is convert new readers to your frequent readers. Note that viral headlines are always effective in keeping people visit your blog often if your content is actually good and provide real value to the readers.
Secret of writing viral headlines
“Go straight to the point!”, that’s what an editor would say first to his new reporter. It’s always a best strategy to tackle the main purpose of your blog post into the title. It could be it a tutorial or a list of resources or some sort of breaking news people should care about. By giving the purpose in the headlines, you pose an image of the content inside the readers’ mind, make it more interesting and become your powerful “readers’ hook”.
For example: 10 money saving tips for dating online (show me the list of 10 tips I that I can read to save money on dating online, interesting, huh :))
Provide some benefits
One of the popular techniques in writing headlines is to show readers some insight of value they can receive if they read on. The hard truth is, if your headline captures people attention but doesn’t show any value, why a person should mind about wasting his time to click and read on the article?
Bad example: 10 house cleaning tips
Good example: 10 house cleaning tips that can easily be done in 5 minutes
Clearly, the second example gives me the feeling that these tips are not ordinary tips. They are the tips that will shorten my time in house cleansing work and give me more spare time to focus about other things in my life. Which one attracts your more?
Be truthful about the content
Another helpful advice in creating a viral headline is to be truthful about your content and what you are going to tell the readers. That means don’t say something that you aren’t going to offer in the content body in the headline. Also don’t create hype in the title.
For example: How to make $100 overnight with little or no work (I read those headlines all the time when people are trying to trick newbie in buying some blueprint stuff. Those products are not worth purchase for because they won’t generate income overnight and the info offered in the products can be found else where, for free)
Be controversial. Ask a question
Asking question or challenge readers by presenting your point of view in a form of question is another popular way to build up viral headlines. In this kind of headers, you often present your perspective and ask readers a question to pose a thinking in their mind and encourage them to read on to understand more about your stand point. I have seen a lot of bloggers use this technique and be very successful in creating viral headlines.
For example: Is Commenting on Blogs a Smart Traffic Strategy?
Use superlative words
In all of the popular headlines that I study to know the secret way of building a viral headline, I notice that bloggers often use some keywords like “super”, “awesome”, “great”, “surprisingly” and lots of other keywords in building a viral headlines.
For example: 10 great ways to build traffic and how you can copy one
5 simple ways to optimize your blog.
You instantly know the effect of using superlatives keywords when compare those headlines with “10 ways to build traffic” and “5 ways to optimize your blog”. Using superlative keywords in your blog headline not only attract people attention. They also are proven to be more effective in attracting comments and backlinks as well.
Presenting some achievements
Another way to create viral headlines is to use some big number, some achievement in the blog post.
For example: One of the popular post in Viperchill blog is “How I really build a blog with 6000 subscribers”. How do you feel about it when you read his headline? Stunning, isn’t it? By presenting a really big number, some achievements of himself with an article to guide people on how to get an exact same thing, Viper chill has created a very popular blog post of all times.
Avoid these mistakes which prevent your headline to go viral
Don’t show off your private achievement
Show off your private accomplishment or achievements that don’t relate with the benefits of the readers would damage your blog reputation. I have known some bloggers who present their income in the blog and I don’t think it’s a good idea. I have known that I should not disclose any of my income or achievement because I’m sure that I won’t amuse my readers much, although some of my friends may come in and drop me a few note. So unless you pack your article with some useful stuff to guide people how to achieve the same thing as you do, the best strategy is always keep those private and sensitive information away.
Avoid headlines saying things that are so obvious
Headlines that are so obvious such as “Why exercising is good for your health” and “Why you should not smoke” don’t capture much reader attention. The reasons why exercising is good for your health and why should not smoking are so obvious to people that nobody want to click on that link. Instead of saying about obvious things, make it more interesting to read, such as “How exercising can stop depress” or “In 5 ways that smoking heavily affect your life and worsen your problem.”
Other resources that will help you write viral headlines
- 102 proven social media headline formulas
- 54 proven headlines that sell
- Copyblogger headline writing resources
What do you think?
Do you have any secrets or formulas to create viral headlines for yourself? If you do, why don’t share it with the community and receive a praise for your helpful advices.