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  • http://knoxvillebusinesslaboratory.com/ Knoxville Business Laboratory

    Talk about giving the farm away… nice piece Jeff!

    There is truly gold in them thar words!

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Happy to give away some gold.

  • Jim Starr

    Lord knows I tried. I tried several times to get into this article but could tolerate only so many grammatical errors and typos. Anyone who claims to know about effective writing but doesn’t know the basics has little credibility.

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Jim for the heads up. Just letting you know that my editor died recently from overwork.
      Still working on the grammar and the typos. :)
      I am a work in progress.

    • Jason King

      Fair point about typos Jim, but I think you’ll find Jeff is one of the most respected and credible sources of Social Media/Marketing around :)

  • Peter Lightbody

    Jeff, I really appreciated this article as I’m grappling with how to write good headlines at the moment. And I always look for advice from people with ‘field experience’.

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Glad to hear that I am helping with the grappling. :)

  • Vishal .

    Great article, Jeff! But how about those people who don’t enlist steps/methods for something? What can those people who write on politics, economics and psychology? How can they write headlines which attract more readers?

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Headlines are important for all topics. Jus need to apply your knowledge of the area and the same principles.

    • melissajenna

      While this is great advice, especially for folks working in marketing/social, I was left with the same question. 5 of the 6 examples provided are listicles, and 8 of the top 10 posts are listicles. That format, when applied to subjects of more weight comes off as flippant, or worse, insensitive (ex. “7 Ways Abusive Behavior Affects Children”). I’d say if you’re writing about more formal or sensitive issues, to avoid the listicle format, unless you want to it come off as something posted on BuzzFeed.

      But like I said, this tactic definitely works (and is more appropriate) for social/marketing type posts.

  • Jason King

    Good article with some good pointers that I’ve learned from you a while back. I also find that if I change the wording of my headings that I often get more shares & followers. I target small & micro businesses and if my headings say for newbies, beginners or small businesses this appeals to my audience :)

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  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Amber King

    Thanks for sharing this Jeff. A good headline is what you need to capture the attention of your readers. I have observed that how to’s and lists get the most attention.

  • Active Web Group

    Great, easy-to-follow pointers.

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  • http://bloggersideas.com/ Jitendra Vaswani

    Wow! I really need this. It helps to know these things especially for a blogger like me :) Great stuff! My blog will really benefit from this haha!

  • http://www.shellilittleton.blogspot.com/ Shelli Littleton

    Thank you, Jeff. Very helpful.

  • http://www.fatbit.com/ Sandeep Thakur

    Topic is really useful, Thanks for share your research.

  • http://www.inmediaconcepts.co.nz/ William John

    Thank you for the really helpful post and title ideas. Must try out predictions and trends once

  • Jesse Quist

    Great list Jeff … I always get my great headline ideas in the shower and usually forget them by the time I’m done :(

  • Paul

    Thanks for the valuable info Jeff. Do you think the ‘numbered list style’ (eg “5 ways to”…“20 tricks to”) has become too much of a cliché?

    From the evidence you give, it’s clear that this style still works. However, every time I see one of these headlines I cringe – they’re everywhere, and completely unoriginal to the point where it looks like we’re blindly copying what we’ve been taught to do and nothing more.

    I wonder whether it’s just my personal taste, or whether we’ve done this one to death.

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks for the comment and dropping by and asking the question!
      I agree with you that they are overdone and I struggle with the tactic.
      The problem is that they work. It is even creeping into newspapers. Copyblogger .com does a great job of not using lists on their blog.
      It is the tension between beauty (the creative headline) and function… the list post.

  • http://cmoneyspinner.tumblr.com/ Treathyl FOX

    To be honest I wasn’t going to click on the link to this post because it had the number “10″ in the title. I’m thinking: “YATT!!! Yet another top ten list.” But I thought again: “You never know. May learn something.” So I’m glad I I did stop by because I did learn something. And you know that Charles Dickens quote from “A Tale of Two Cities”? “It was the best of times, it was worst of times”. It really does grab you!