Read Me! The Difficulty of Creating a Catchy Headline
The entire point of creating a good headline is to get your audience interested in your content. A good headline says “Yeah, this is interesting so read more.” And it’s not as easy as it looks.
I find myself lacking in the good headline department. Most of the time when I go to write a headline I just want to write “Just read this because it’s interesting.” I can only imagine that wouldn’t be too effective.
So you can guess that I was thoroughly annoyed when I was asked to write 25 headlines for one article in my communications class; you get desperate when you’re at 15.
By the time I wrote my tenth headline I was leaning towards writing a clickbait headline. I’m not talking “This is interesting I should read more,” clickbait. I’m talking “I’m annoyed at this clear clickbait headline but I also have to find out if I ‘Won’t believe Number 4' like the headline suggests.”
The article I chose to write my 25 headlines for was regarding Trump’s treatment of Miss Universe when she worked for him. Here’s my original headline:
“Former Miss Universe Stands up To Trump.” Not too bad. Gets the point across, but it could be better.
Here are the 25 different headlines I made for that article:
- “Miss Piggy” Stands up To Trump
2. Former Miss Universe becomes U.S. citizen to vote against Trump
3. Former Miss Universe now a U.S. citizen, who will she vote for?
4. Miss Universe taking a stand
5. “Miss Piggy” Taking a stand
6. Miss Universe not voting for Trump, why?
7. Trump will not receive support from Former Miss Universe, here’s why
8. Why Trump’s former employee won’t be voting for him
9. Why she’s standing up to Trump
10. Former Miss Universe shares why she won’t be voting for Trump
11. She went from Miss Universe to Miss Piggy what the former Miss Universe has to say about Trump
12. What former Miss Universe has to say about Trump
13. Former Miss Universe shares how Trump treated her after she won
14. How she went from Miss Universe to Miss Piggy Under Trump’s Reign
15. Miss Universe to vote this presidential election why it’s not for Trump
16. Miss Universe won’t be voting for her former boss Trump
17. Miss Universe won’t be voting for Trump this election
18. Miss Universe shares why she won’t be voting for Trump
19. Trump called her Miss Piggy, Here’s How she’s fighting back
20. She’s Not Voting for him
21. Miss Universe Not Voting for Trump
22. Why Miss Piggy isn’t voting for former boss
23. She’s Standing Up to Donald Trump In her own way
24. How Miss Universe Plans on standing up to Trump
25. Former Employee not voting for Trump
Some were good. Others not so much however, throughout the entire process I managed to stay away from clickbait, which I considered an accomplishment.
After that I went and found my three favorite headlines out of the list and posted them to Twitter.
From the three Tweets with different headlines I discovered “Trump Called Her Miss Piggy, Here’s How She’s Fighting Back,” received the best engagement rate.
From this exercise I learned the value of a good headline. Through this process I found that a headline is as important as the article you’re writing and it takes time to find a good headline.
Your audience won’t read your article unless you tease them a bit. Share just enough to get them interested but not too much to give them the entire story. Overall, I found this to be a helpful lesson which I hope will help me to improve my headlines in the future.