How the Texas Flooding Can Help You Write Better Blog Post Headlines
by Nick Nichols, B2B Sales and Marketing Expert
One of the best ways to attract readers to your blog posts is to tie in to current events – even if those events are unrelated to your business or industry. (The way I’m doing here.) The trick is to make the headline mysterious, thought provoking or controversial without being distasteful, patronizing or morose.
As a north Texas resident, I’ve had to deal with the record rainfall we’ve had and cell phone flash flood alerts via my Weather Channel smart phone app.
I received such an alert and went to my desktop computer to see a larger map of the affected areas. Just below the map, I noticed several thumbnail previews of related stories. Each preview had a short, compelling headline, apparently written by some clever copywriters at The Weather Channel.
Prior to this discovery, it never occurred to me that The Weather Channel would need copywriters. Then I realized that The Weather Channel is competing for attention the same way you and I are. If we want to attract readers and viewers, we must utilize headlines that motivate clicks. Here are seven of the Weather Channel thumbnail preview headlines, along with some examples of how you might adapt them to your blog posts.
#1: “24 Hours of Bad News… And Then What?”
Adaptation: X (Hours/Days/Weeks/Months/Years) of (a negative, such as: Financial Struggle/Personal Setbacks/Intense Back Pain) and Then (a positive, such as: “He Became a Millionaire/She Became a Sought-After Speaker/the Miracle Cure Appeared)
#2: “OUTRAGE: Vandals Do the Unimaginable in California”
- OUTRAGE: Small Business Owners Demand to Know Why This Marketing Secret Has Been Kept From Them
- OUTRAGE: High Income Taxpayers Demand to Know Why Their CPA Didn’t Tell Them about This Hidden IRS Loophole
- OUTRAGE: Back Pain Sufferers Demand to Know Why This Treatment Has Been Kept From Them
#3: “WATCH: The Video That Made All of Our Meteorologists Gasp”
Adaptation: WATCH: The Video That Made (your target market, e.g.: Doctors/Attorneys/CPAs/IT Managers, etc.) Gasp
#4: “It Was a Normal Fishing Trip and Then This Happened”
Adaptation: It Was a Normal (Visit to the Doctor/Trip to the CPA/Job Interview) and Then This Happened
#5: “Surprising Summer Outlook”
Adaptation: Surprising (event that affects/is important to your target market) Shakes Up the X Industry
#6: “You Won’t Believe What She Found While Scuba Diving”
Adaptation: (your target audience, e.g.: Back Pain Sufferers/Small Business Owners/Wealthy Retirees): You Won’t Believe What this (Patient/Business Woman/Couple) Discovered While (Exercising/Writing a Help Wanted Ad/Reviewing Their 401K Statement)
#7: “These Images Will Give You a New Perspective”
Adaptation: This Infographic Will Give You the Most Overlooked Solution to (the major problem your target audience has)
Did you notice anything special about every adaptation?
Each headline promises a single outcome that, hopefully, will appeal to the targeted audience. This may seem contrary to the conventional wisdom that you must offer “X Reasons to …” or “Y Ways to Avoid…” These are known as tips lists, and have been the stock and trade of copywriters for decades. But ask yourself this, which would you rather know about?
“The 7 Things (Mark Cuban/Oprah/Warren Buffet) Does Every Day
that Made Him/Her a Billionaire”
“The One Thing (Mark Cuban/Oprah/Warren Buffet) Does Every Day
that Made Him/Her a Billionaire”
If you’re like most people, you want to know the ONE THING. Seven things sounds like too much work, but ONE THING appeals to the quest for the “magic pill” that all of us secretly long to acquire.
So how do you identify that ONE THING? That’s the challenge that few master but it’s a challenge that you MUST master if you want to survive and prosper in our limited attention span world. Those who do identify the ONE THING will generate riches beyond their wildest dreams of avarice. (Note: Even though I gave you seven examples, I promised just ONE THING in my headline, and then I delivered on that single promise. It’s okay and usually desirable to expand on the ONE THING with examples and support.)