If You’re Stuck for Blogging Ideas, Write the (Killer) Headline first

When faced with blogger’s block, the only way to beat it is to buckle down, force yourself to write and push through the rough patches (actions produce motivation). However when you run out of ideas (or if your ideas aren’t clear enough), then here’s an effective technique to focus your mind and let your blog post write itself.

Simply put, craft your killer headline first. Simply writing any ordinary headline won’t cut it – you need to dig deep, hit the headline swipe files and spend time creating a gem of a headline.

How this helps bloggers:

  • Forces you to focus on the main idea behind your post, which in turn helps the internal monologue run clearer.
  • Guides you towards the type of post you can / should write. If the headline is designed to create a discussion, then you can write a conversational post. On the other hand, a list headline can help you focus on creating a list and perhaps fleshing it out to create cool linkbait.
  • Allows you to get off a good start – a great headline with an average article will do better than a great article with an average headline in terms of social media. You might think it’s unfair but that’s how our minds work especially in an attention-starved economy. The headline is king, and everything else leads from there.
  • If you find the basic idea not interesting enough, you’ll be able to stop there and not waste time writing a long post only to find out later that it doesn’t get a good response from readers.
  • You may end up with several headlines, leading to several concrete post ideas instead of a jumbled up bunch in your head.

The next time you’re stuck for ideas, try this approach – write the headline first, and shape the article accordingly. If it works for sales copywriting (where success is measured in hard numbers), it works for blogging as well.

Further reading:

101 Great Posting Ideas That Will Make Your Blog Sizzle
Posting Tactics for a Well Rounded Blog
10 Killer Post Ideas

5 thoughts on “If You’re Stuck for Blogging Ideas, Write the (Killer) Headline first

  1. Deb – the SEO of a headline revolves around having the right keywords in it – and quite one that means taking the one / two important words and building a killer headline around them. Not impossible if you have headline swipe files like the ones Brian Clark provides on his blog.

    Lincoln and tariq – fair enough, everybody has their own approach to blogging and some things that work for me might not work for you. Personally I’ve found it easier to focus once I have the headline. Also, I have a tendency to ramble off on tangents in my posts (how my brain works, basically) so doing the headline first keeps me on track.

  2. I gotta agree with LincolnAdams on this one. Most of the time, I have a hard time coming up with the headline even though I have the content in place. Getting that killer or memorable headline appears to be much harder for me than the content.

  3. I found just the OPPOSITE worked for me. I’d always have difficulty coming up with a headline until I wrote the material first. I guess it proves there’s no hard and fast rule here. Do what works best for you.

  4. I’m also told by various probloggers and certain editors to not worry so much about creating eye catching headlines and concentrate more on SEO – even if it’s not so eye catching. So I can create a killer headline but in order to bring in the masses I need to optimize it first. And let’s face it, SEO doesn’t always make a great title. My preference is to make my titles fun and attention-grabbing, which does indeed lead to engaging content, but this isn’t necessarily what my clients want.

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