It’s a blogosphere favorite for good reason — “list” content works, in large part due to the attention-grabbing power of the headline.
What may be news to some bloggers is that the effectiveness of this type of headline and content is as old as the advertising hills. So you shouldn’t worry about it dying out anytime soon.
Any headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, types, or ways will work because, once again, it makes a very specific promise of what’s in store for the reader. A nice quantifiable return on attention invested goes a long way toward prompting action, and as long as you deliver with quality content, you’ll have a satisfied reader.
Plus, these type of posts and articles are perfect for building your authority and demonstrating a mastery of your area of expertise. If you’re business blogging, that’s key.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at 7 classic “list” headlines that you can remix on your blog when you’re looking to boost readership (and maybe even get a little link love).
1. Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of High Blood Pressure?
Use this type of headline to demonstrate the expertise that only comes from really knowing your business or niche. People love to get a “heads up” on potential problems.
2. 10 Ways to Beat the High Cost of Living
A classic that can only flop if you fail to deliver. Concentrate on writing content that sparkles, and people will acknowledge that you not only know what you’re talking about, but you also communicate it well.
3. Five Familiar Skin Troubles
Commiserate with your readers by setting forth problems you know they are having, and they just might determine that you are the right solution.
4. Six Types of Investor — Which Group Are You In?
Let the readers self-identify themselves by providing categories into which they will likely fall into. You know about the power of using the word “you” when addressing readers, but people love it even more when they can focus on themselves.
5. How to Give Your Children Extra Iron — These 3 Delicious Ways
A “how to” headline mixed in with a list — it’s almost not fair. Note that the word “these” plus the number of items, followed by “(adjective) ways,” is an extremely specific and powerful use of 4 simple words.
6. Free Book Tells You 12 Secrets of Better Lawn Care
Use this style of headline and content structure with a free report or tutorial that you are promoting, and you should get wider circulation.
7. 76 Reasons Why It Would Have Paid You to Answer Our Ad a Few Months Ago
An especially bold headline that worked wonders for a popular news magazine. The number of reasons given is so large it’s almost absurd, and that’s good from a value standpoint with free content. Plus, by referring back to previous ads, the piece points out the peril of not paying attention earlier.
Gutsy, but effective.
I think I’ll try it next time I’m mining my archives:
11 Reasons Why You Should Have Subscribed to Copyblogger Months Ago.
David Garfinkel’s headline swipe file book (with analysis and examples) available from Amazon.