Creative Best Practices

How to craft the perfect headline in three easy steps

Posted by Deborah Bates on January 21st, 2013 at 9:29 am

Today, during my hourly crawl of the world’s content marketing blogs, I spotted an absolute gem of a headline and just had to write about it. It was the title of the latest post on the Content Marketing Institute’s site, written by Heidi Cohen – who is a steadfast member of the content marketing industry and a really great writer.

It read: ‘How to solve your biggest content marketing problem in 7 easy steps’. Sounds simple, huh? It’s actually very well thought through and if you want to replicate it, here are the three things you need to take from Heidi’s headline.

Number 1: ‘How to solve...’

As most B2B marketers will know, content needs to offer value in some way – be it making a person laugh or, in this case, teaching them something. The word ‘solve’ instantly jumps out at us, as we know straight away that this blog is going to educate us. Reading it will be a valuable use of our time. Using this word has instantly decreased the chance that we’ll dismiss the blog and move onto something else – first gold star for Heidi.

Number 2: ‘...your biggest content marketing problem’

This part of the title instantly sparks our curiosity. We all know what we perceive to be our biggest B2B content marketing challenge – but does it match the biggest challenge facing the royal ‘we’? We want to know what Heidi has identified as the biggest problem and even if it isn’t one we’d already thought of, it can’t hurt to know in advance what to do if we face it at some point. Second gold star accrued.

Number 3: ‘...in 7 easy steps.’

Heidi’s given us a nice, simple step-by-step process. We know straight away from the headline that this is going to be an easy way to solve this challenge. There will be no scanning through jargon-filled content to find the answer. Instead, the solution is going to be spelled out to us in a clear manner; making the best use of our time. Tick – third gold star!

Plus, Heidi earns a fourth bonus gold star for not giving the game entirely away in the title (maintaining an element of mystery with the biggest problem part) whilst still making it enticing enough for us to read on.

So there you have it – a strong example of the perfect headline. It was so good I even replicated it myself... See, made you look, didn’t it?!

One Response to “How to craft the perfect headline in three easy steps”

  1. Heidi Cohen says:

    Deborah--

    I'm so honored that you used my title as the inspiration for your article.

    My advice for readers, content creators and bloggers is that crafting good titles takes practice. Use your daily reading to see what sparks your attention as well as other readers (as shown via social shares and comments.)

    Also, spend time editing and re-editing your titles.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

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