How to start writing headlines that get the job done
Success on WordPress and other blogging platforms isn’t just about doing what you love anymore.
The only thing that works now is doing your best work.
And that could require learning and unlearning a lot of what works and what you have always known to work.
The best advice I can give on this:
For our articles to have the success we expect, writers have to stoop to conquer.
Most of us writers will have to be students of the craft to make the most of the ever-changing best practices in writing.
Just like you, I have always thought content was king. But recently, I discovered it was a wrong assumption.
On the 4th of November 2019, I got an email from my friend Tom Kuegler.
In the mail was the article 30 things I Learned Writing on Medium the Last 3 Years.
Because it was coming from someone whom I deeply respect and admire, I began to write the 30 lessons into my journal.
It was smooth and running until lesson 11.
Lesson 11 broke a pattern.
The profound impact headlines could have on a story struck me.
According to Tom: 90% of blogging success comes down to the headline. If your post isn’t getting enough views, it’s probably the headline.
I couldn’t believe how such a small part of a whole could determine the success or failure of it.
Immediately I went to my Medium stories stats to check the validity of what he said.
I couldn’t believe what I realized:
It was true_ the better the headline the more views it got.
I realized it wasn’t just the quality of content that determines the number of views; much more is the quality of its headline.
I concluded that most articles fail or succeed because of poorly written headlines.
That means how much views an article gets has a lot to do with how well written the headline is.
But why is that important?
Because recently, the earning of an article depends on its reading time.
The more people engage with the article, the more it earns. And the less engaged they are, the less it earns.
According to the October update of the MPP:
We calculate earning based on the reading time of Medium members.
We will include reading time from non-members too once they become members
And as you know, the number of those who view the article determines the reads it gets.
As the number of views increases, so the possibility of the number of those who will click the article and read.
The funnel for reads is views and headline determine about 80–90% of views.
So what makes a quality headline?
Who else can give a better prescription on this than Medium Writers Team?
The following were what they recommend as features of best practices on writing quality headlines:
· Be specific. Don’t leave the reader to guess what your piece is about.
· Spark interest. Engage the reader’s interest by highlighting what’s interesting about your piece.
· Be clear. Avoid confusing term, general statements, or “insider” jargon.
· Be clean. Watch out for typos in your headlines and please do not use profanity.
· Go for reads, not clicks. Steer clear of clickbait headline_ tropes like “one weird thing” or using “this/that” to get the reader to click. Make sure your backs up the claim in the headline.
Those are what Medium recommends as some headline best practices.
Quite a good place to begin: to know the rules.
Some of your success will, however, come from tweaking some rules to achieve an effect.
But first, know and use them before you can do that with mastery.
Writing Good headlines is a Skill
And as with any skill, improvement comes with practice.
The writer who practices the art the most meets with success the most.
If it’s a skill, then daily practice is what we need to get better at it.
There are two ways you can go about this:
1. Start writing 5 headlines every day.
Remember, I told you it’s a skill a while ago.
Yes, that’s why you need to practice the art of writing headlines.
Several top writers here do it.
In one of his articles, Ayodeji Awosika revealed that he writes about 10 headlines every day, while Jon Morrow, who taught him most of what he knows about blogging wrote 50–100 every day until he became a master.
Probably one reason he could write such magnetic headlines almost all the time.
And today you can start doing that too: practice writing 5 new headlines every day.
2. Write 5 versions of your headline and pick the best for your article
A lot of writers use the first title that comes to mind while preparing articles. You may have, too. But it is better you write about 5 versions of it and then pick the best.
Dave Schools writes 10 versions of his headlines and picks the one that serves the aim of the article with the best appeal to the target readers.
If Dave School does, you too need the best of headlines to reach a wider audience.
And If 80 -90% of writing success depends on it, we cannot overemphasize the need to come up with your best headlines.
More than ever before, each of us needs nothing less than our best to succeed on Medium.
You need the views like never.
If your article must get to the wider and target audience, writing better headlines is a MUST skill to hone.
No matter how rich your content is, with a poor headline it will fail.
Writing better headlines is not a gift but a skill.
And like any skill, you get better as you practice it every day:
· Start writing 5–10 headlines every day and
· For every initial headline, write 5 versions of it and select the best of them.
Getting better at this skill will determine about 80–90% of your blogging success.
And I hope you start your practice today.
I hope this article has been helpful in coming up with better headlines for getting more views with your articles.
Did you find it helpful?
Leave me a comment on and tell me your thoughts! I’d love to hear from you!