I admit it. I totally suck at writing headlines. I see these intriguing headlines all over the Web, and I wonder, “how does she come up with these clever, enticing headlines?”
I’ve read zillions of articles about writing better headlines. I’ve downloaded e-books about writing better headlines, and I’ve studied tutorials. I’ve done worksheets. I’ve listened to podcasts.
I know the stats, and the advice. Yes, I know that 80% of my writing time should be invested in the headline to make it really great.
But do I do it?
I’ll spend an hour writing a great article, and another hour (or more sometimes) capturing screenshots to show you the steps. Then I spend a minute on the headline and I’m bored.
The new CoSchedule Headline Analyzer makes writing and rewriting headlines fun.
First you type in your headline.
Click the Analyze Now button, and. . .
It shows your headline analysis, as a percentage of 100.
You can see, that “Type your boring, drab, first-draft headline here” got a score of 65. Ouch.
Scroll down to see what you can improve.
First, there’s something called Word Balance. The perfect headline would have a balance of common, uncommon, emotional and power words.
Notice that I have 0% in the “emotional” category. Also note there’s a handy little tip I can click on, called, “What makes emotional headlines so powerful?”
When I click it takes me to an article about why emotional headlines get more social media shares. Sweet.
Continue scrolling, and you’ll see the four word types from your headline listed.
Then we get into the Length Analysis, including character and word counts.
Following that is an example of what your headline will look like in the Google search results, and as the subject line of an email.
Then what the “average” reader sees when skimming your headline. (HINT: He doesn’t read the whole thing. . .)
Finally, the tool shows the keywords you’ve used, and something called Sentiment. My sad-faced sentiment score reinforces the lack of emotional words in this headline.
Below that, your score is displayed again, along with buttons to share on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.
But That’s Not the Fun Part. . . Yet
So now that you’ve analyzed your first headline, go back and rework it. Change a word or two, or ask a question. . . Hit the Analyze button again.
Look at that! The score jumped, the word balance is better. . . Now I’m on the right track.
I don’t expect to go from awful headlines to wonderful immediately, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Notice you’ve now got something called Headline History just below the Analyze window. You can compare the two headlines, and keep modifying until you’re satisfied.
I’m actually enjoying the process — the colored circle provides visual interest, and the scoring makes it feel like I’m playing a game.
Not boring at all!
I want my headlines to score at least 80.
Reword Old Headlines
You can use this tool to improve older headlines that aren’t performing well. Focus on your current writing, but set a goal to work on a few older headlines each week. When you’ve got a new headline you like, share it on social media and see what happens.
I’ll be doing it, too.