How to Optimize Your Headlines for Content Discovery with Vinegar (Before You Die of Cholera)


Are you curious how the beginning and end of this headline actually fit together? It’s quite a promise to deliver on. Well, hosts Demian Farnworth and Jerod Morris do just that on this week’s episode of The Lede, and they improve your content discovery in the process.

And that’s important, because optimizing your content for discovery is a foundational principle of SEO on the modern web. And the element that most influences whether your content gets discovered is the headline.

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A Mild Warning for All Headline Writers


These days, you want to write a headline that will blow up on the social web. A headline that will get people to pound the “Share” button … a headline to clog our Twitter feeds with thousands of retweets.

But there’s a problem …

We on the web can watch our website traffic rise like a rocket out of Cape Canaveral … and then stroke our goatees and fan our long hair as we linger in the afterglow of the rapidly fleeting adulation of people who are mostly impossible prospects for what we have to offer.

To make matters worse, the people we really want to reach may never have a clue that our content is out there. Waiting for them.

Your mom might be proud. Your boss won’t be.

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How to Use the 5 Stages of Audience Awareness to Dominate Online


In the last episode of Rough Draft, Demian Farnworth walked you through the magic that is an Upworthy headline as an introduction to a concept called “The 5 Stages of Audience Awareness.”

The actual name is “The 5 Stages of Market Awareness” — a concept originally developed by Eugene Schwartz.

But Demian modified it for our purposes.

Every product or idea goes through these stages. And to maximize your chances of getting noticed (and getting read), you’ve got to know which stage your audience is in.

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Why the Most Hated Headline Structures Work So Well


A few years back, Upworthy stormed the publishing world — and eventually became the fastest growing media company ever, with 47 million monthly unique views after just 17 months in existence.

So what’s their secret? Tantalizing headlines.

Headlines you love to hate and hate to click but you click anyway, because you hate not knowing what’s behind that headline more than you hate Upworthy’s headlines.

We’ve all fallen for it.

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The Doomsday Cult School of Specificity


Imagine it’s late afternoon, Sunday. You are curled beneath an afghan, still bloated from the fried fish you inhaled for lunch. You are sleeping heavily. Until your doorbell erupts.

A young woman in a peasant top and floral pencil skirt is standing at your doorstep.

She looks over her shoulder. A tall man wearing a black button-up oxford and a white tie nods from the sidewalk. He’s leaning on an umbrella.

She then looks you square in the eye and says, “Are you ready for the end of the world?”

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3 New Ways to Write a Headline (and When to Use Each)


Which desire you lead with in your headline matters. Get it wrong, and even the greatest copy won’t matter.

Get it right, however, and the world will beat a path to your door.

See, your headline is the bridge between your customer and your product. And there are basically three ways of channelling that desire in a headline.

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