5 Secrets To Writing Explosive Headlines (The Experts Won’t Tell You)

Who reads the newspaper like this?  Who?

Who reads the newspaper like this? Who?

If you’re a regular reader of my writing, you know a deep, dark secret.

I’m all fluff.

There’s no substance here.

You come to this site to escape the horrible minutiae of your daily life.

You’re a cook from Utah who just wants to make it in the break-neck world of TGI Fridays.  You’re a virgin from the Philippines who’s contemplating dating a fat chick with a limp because hey, you’re not getting any less virginny.  You’re a stripper from Florida who wants to give up stripping to become a full-time cobbler.

Ha!

Cobbler.

The reason why you read this website is because I suck you in with headlines.

If headline writing were an art, I’m like Cezamone.

I just totally made that name up to impress you.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to write an explosive headline so you can dupe your audience into thinking you actually have something to say even though you’re intellectually vacant.

Don’t get angry.

You’re writing on the Internet.

None of this shit matters.

Let’s get started.

1. Remember That Your Audience Is Inherently Douchey.

The fundamental secret to headline writing is this: Your audience doesn’t care about you.

If Tremendous News disappeared off the planet tomorrow, nobody’s going to look for it.

My audience might say they will, but they won’t.

I know this.

They’ll go to lolcats and stare at a bunch of dopey pictures and giggle themselves into a coma.

So, my headlines have to cater to them.  I can’t write a headline for myself.

For example, if I titled this post.  “How I Learned To Write Headlines”, would you be here?

No.

If I titled this post “I can haz headline”, would you be here?

Shame on you.

2. Put Your Headline Up Against The Rest.

Here are some headlines from today’s newspaper.  I will covertly mix in a headline of a story I wrote, and you can tell me which article you would like to read.

Al Qaeda Takes Credit for Plot.

Again?

Chinese ambassador summoned over execution of Briton Akmal Shaikh

That’s not even a real name.

Putin: Russia to develop offensive weapons to keep balance with US

Oh OK.  Let’s read more about what Putin thinks.  Because that’s what we care about.

The 5 Remaining Things Facebook Can Steal From Twitter.

Boom.  That’s juicy.  I have alleged that Facebook is stealing.  I have added “remaining” so you think, holy poopy-pants!  What else have they stolen?!

In my head, you say “holy poopy-pants”.

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Nothing turns these ladies on more than a guy who can generate a good click-thru rate.

3. Trim The Fat.

A headline should be just enough.  Just enough to get your audience to think. Delve into the psyche of your audience.

The Top 9 Boobs of 2009.

Boobs?  I’m interested in boobs.  Why is there 9?  I thought they came in pairs.  Who has one boob!?  Who has one boob!?  I need to know.

4. Use Numbers.

I’m not saying Internet audiences are stupid.  They all leased an IP address, so they can’t be that dumb.

They’re just alarmingly lazy.

So what you need to do in a headline is make things simple.

By using numbers.

Use 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13

Anything more than 13 and it’ll bore the shit out of them.

They’d rather read what Putin thinks about weapons.

5.  Make It About Them.

This flows from my first point.  The audience is douchey because they only care about themselves.

Which is why headlines that speak to them are the ones that work best.

When I wrote The 13 Types of Tweeters, it was a complete dud.

Nobody cared.

So I retitled it The 13 Types Of Tweeters: Which One Are You?

That’s when people flooded my website.  Thousands upon thousands of people needed to discover which tweeter they were.  They wanted to tell their friends.  They shared it.

I learned a valuable lesson that day.  We are all, inherently, self-absorbed Internet douches trying to find another useless metric to compare ourselves to.

Don’t agree?  Click here and I’ll prove that this lesson applies to you.

You clicked it, didn’t you?

Ha!

You’re so easy.

There you have it.  These five lessons are all you need.

Now go out there and write your horrible article about how you like Pez or some shit.

I have an appointment with a super hot cobbler.

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