Cute Headlines Don’t Work

Steven Hodson of learned a valuable lesson today that is worthy of sharing and that is, cute headlines don’t work. I know I’ve had my days where I come up with what I believe to be an awesome headline only to find out that it turned into a failure. I think the headlines which don’t work the most often are the ones that are inside jokes that only the post author knows. With that in mind, I think it’s time to revisit an excellent guide that was published by Brian Clark of that focuses entirely on headlines. The guide is as follows:

  1. Why You Should Always Write Your Headline First
  2. The Cheater’s Guide to Writing Great Headlines
  3. Do Key Words in Post Titles Really Matter?
  4. How to Write a Killer “How To” Post That Gets Attention
  5. 7 Reasons Why List Posts Will Always Work
  6. Why Some People Almost Always Write Great Post Titles
  7. 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work
  8. 7 More Sure-Fire Headline Templates That Work
  9. Warning: Use These 5 Surefire Headline Templates at Your Own Risk

Writing excellent headlines is a science to say the least but after reading Brian’s guide, it should be much easier.

4 thoughts on “Cute Headlines Don’t Work

  1. hey Jeff,
    I agree on avoiding “inside joke” headlines, and “cute” headlines in general.
    I think the magical headline is one with “click-worthy keywords” and content to back it up.
    That is:
    1. It has the keywords in the title so the searcher will find it.
    2. The keywords have modifiers (like “how to” or “10 things that suck about”) such that the searcher will click on the title when they see it.
    3. The content of the article or post is the relevant to the title and gives the clicker value.
    Just my two cents…
    ~ Steve, aka “trade show booths”
    By the way, your title worked since I clicked through…

  2. As you write a ‘cute’ headline. But the ‘adjective’ is a bit misleading… You still want to write ‘Cute Headlines’, you just want to make sure that they are effective and aren’t those headlines that are only ‘cute’ to you. Maybe he should have called his lesson: ‘Write for the masses, not for yourself’, or something else more cleverly crafted.

    Great links. I’ve discovered quite a few great sites from this blog. 🙂

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