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If you’re like me, you struggle with writing headlines for your blog posts. It is never easy condensing a 500+ word post into ten short words or less. But it’s something we’re constantly asked to do—and with good reason! Headlines pull readers in.

Headlines are the first thing readers see when they click on a blog post, when they find your art blog in the search engines, or when they click on a link distributed through their social media circle. So today we’re going to take a look at a few ways we can learn to write strong headlines.

Address the needs of your readers

Radio host, and adjunct professor, Mark Grimm says,

“People decide—in a brief moment—if they are going to read something or not, so post titles are critical. The title should answer one question: Why should I read this?”

In other words, the title of your post should address the needs of your readers.

Kathleen K. O’Connor, owner of O’Copy, goes on to say, “The key to writing successful headlines is answering the age-old question, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Readers aren’t going to click on your post unless they think they’ll benefit from reading it, so mention the primary benefit in the headline.”

Avoid cute or clever phrases

“It’s common for people to use cute or clever phrasing in their headlines,” Kathleen continues, “but it doesn’t attract as many clicks. Make your headline more compelling by hinting at a solution that answers your readers’ problems.”

For example, a few good headlines would be:

“3 Ways To Get Your Art Noticed By Gallery Owners”

“How To Clean Oil Paints Off Your Paint Brush”

“Why Student Grade Paints Fail (And Why You Should Care)”

When in doubt, study magazine headlines

Jonathan Dunsky, of WorldofDiets.com says, “study magazines and use their headlines as templates.”

One thing Jonathan learned from studying magazine headlines is that people, in general, like lists and saving money. Keeping those ideas as his focus, he’s able to write titles that capture the attention his readers, as well as those who find him via the search engines.

With this theory in mind, some sample headlines would be:

“3 Ways To Increase Art Sales Online”

“5 Signs Your Online Shopping Cart Is A Waste Of Money”

“10 Reasons Why Social Media Increases Blog Traffic”

Reference terms your readers understand

Mike Seddon, the founder of KKSmarts, says “When you have a particular audience in mind try to include a reference they will understand in the headline.”

If your blog audience are painters, for instance, reference Van Gogh, Monet, or da Vinci in the blog title. Just make sure that whomever (or whatever) you reference in the title is also referenced in the blog post itself. You never want to mislead your readers.

When all else fails, ask a question

“Questions make good headlines,” Mike continues. “When you read a question you feel compelled to hear the answer!”

Some sample questions might be:

“Are Watercolor Paintings Worth Collecting?”

“Do You Make The Same Mistake When Using Oil Paints?”

If you take anything away from this article, take this: Headlines are the key to getting readers to click on your post, and actually read its content. So take the time to write headlines that grab attention by focusing on your readers’ needs.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

One high school summer vacation I worked as a Mobil Holiday Hostess—a fancy name for a gas station attendant in the days before self-serve pumps. The company trained me in a strict sequence of actions designed to make the customer glad to pay for the service. While we pumped gas, we were to clean the windshield, check the oil and water levels, and warn the customer of any other needed. . . read more

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