Winning the Internet

What to do in 2014? Make headlines!

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

imagesLooking forward to 2014, you won’t want to miss Heidi Cohen’s post on how to make headlines. Gathering best practices from some of the best in the biz, she provides some juicy tidbits on how to grab your readers and  write engaging content they’ll want to share.

Headlines are the first and only hook to get your audiences engaged. But, most of the time, that just doesn’t happen. Reality checks:

80% of people never see your content. As David Ogilvy one of the original madmen, stated: “Only 1 out of 5 readers gets beyond your headline.”

Traffic varies as much as 500% based on the headline based on tests by Upworthy. The headline is the content creator’s one chance to break through and grab someone’s attention to get them to care about your content.

So, what to do? According to Upworthy (quoted in the post) you should:

Spend 50% of your content creation on your headline. Focus on how to present the information. “People put way too much emphasis on the specifics of the piece of content and not enough on the packaging. We’ve seen the case where a headline made the difference between 1,000 views and 1 million views,” says Koechley. Generally, Upworthy revises headlines 25 times before publication. 

Decide what emotions you want your readers to feel. According to Upworthy’s Eli Pariser, formerly of MoveOn.org, the key to viral content is that “a huge part of sharing is being passionate about something, about shedding light on what really matters.”

Jon Morrow, 2 Headline Hacks, also adds that you need to write headlines which:

Answer WIIFM (What’s in it for me). Think about what your reader’s looking for not what you want to talk about.

Pass the 2am Test. What keeps your readers up at night? It’s useful to focus on their pain points and problems.

Great advice from all of those quoted here. And while it may take more time and effort, making headlines is a great goal for 2014! Happy New Year!


About Liza Pike

I'm the founder of New Media Mentors, a hands on learning program to help non profits use social media and online organizing tools effectively.