How To Write The Perfect ‘How To’ Headline that Gets Results

How to write the perfect how-to headline

Would you like to attract new readers to your blog?

The purpose of the headline or title is to draw your reader in. As Professor Snape said in Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling:

I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses.”

Isn’t that what a great headline does for our readers? A great headline will enchant and captivate the attention of people everywhere. Today, we are going to discover how to write the perfect “how to” headline that will get results.

If you’ve been in the blogging world for even a short while, you know the power of a “how to” article. Everyone loves a “how to” article, but I think it is important to note that just because your reader is looking how to do something, it doesn’t mean that they cannot figure it out.

I love the way Brian Clark of Copyblogger put it:

The crazy thing about the popularity of “how to” content is the fact that people don’t really want to learn how to do anything else. They’ve got plenty to do already, thank you. But it’s exactly due to the crazy busy lives we lead that prompts us to seek out tips, tricks, and methods to make things better, easier, and ultimately happier for ourselves.

So, how can we write a “how to” article that doesn’t just become more noise?

Promoting What Your “How To” Can Offer

Google the phrase: how to hang a picture. Tons of results pop up. 8 Steps, videos, how to(s) and tips. If I want to know how to hang a picture, what is going to draw me into your article vs. the one above it or below it?

In order to see results, your headline needs to contain some kind of bonus or perk. A few ways to offer that is by using:

  • Keywords like easy and quick. For example: How to Hang a Picture in 5 Easy Steps.

My guess that someone who is Googling how to hang a picture has some sort of idea on how, but needs a quick and easy way to get it done.

  • How to …. That …

Brian Clark at Copyblogger has a great concept to offering readers perks in the headlines of our blogs he writes:

Often, you can simply take a normal “how to” title and make it better simply by using the transition word “that” immediately following the subject matter of the tutorial.

I’m taking a cue from Brian with the headline of this article. I am often results driven. I want to see that my time and effort are being used wisely and one way I know that is by the results. When I was writing the title, I added the That Gets Results.

It is my belief that by offering readers perks in your “how to” headline will give the little push to read the entire article. However, we cannot offer a perk without delivering on it. If the content of the article does not match up with the title you could risk losing the trust of your readers.

If you were talking with someone who was brand new to blogging, what advice would you give them about writing how to articles?

Christine King is a staff writer at R & R Web Design LLC. She is passionate about writing and loves what blogging and businesses can achieve. Armed with her degree in social work, she brings the unique ability to motivate readers in every blog article she writes. She specializes in creating content and writing blog articles for a variety of businesses at R & R Web Design LLC.

18 comments on “How To Write The Perfect ‘How To’ Headline that Gets Results
  1. Alisa Meredith says:

    Ah, good points and I appreciated the insight on what people really want, which is not necessarily what we THINK they want! Last time I searched a “how-to” that wasn’t tech-related, it was “how to rake leaves easily”. I know how to rake, I wanted tips to save time. So, of course, we should be applying this to all how-tos. Thanks!

  2. How To(s) and lists always seem to be crowd pleasers, don’t they?! I really like reading the how to …., but I haven’t written one yet. The visual learner in me feels that you need visual elements with every step to show how it’s done. I know I’m probably way off base – good writing can certainly teach someone how to do something – but there’s something about the how-tos with pics that really have me captivated!

  3. Kerry Armour says:

    Good stuff! ‘How’ is a very powerful word. You’re so right that it draws people like nothing else even when they don’t think that’s what they’re looking for!

  4. Lisa Voncino says:

    “How to” articles are comforting because they are telling me that if I just follow these steps, one at a time, I will achieve whatever it is I am trying to accomplish. However, with me, the path can lack clarity if the instructions are not detailed enough. How many of us have followed instructions and some really important step has been omitted? Seems like it happens when I am trying to put a piece of furniture together! Always a good idea to look at whatever it is you are “instructing” from the reader, consumer or client’s point of view.

  5. Mallie Hart says:

    I will add that it’s good to shake things up from time to time with your titles, unless you’re sticking to a long term theme. Too much of anything can become less of a “good thing” and become stale.

  6. I struggle to write catchy headlines, but love to write how to’s! That being said I agree with Mallie, it is important to switch up the title. My most googled and visited post is “How to share your business page on Facebook,” so I know it works. But if all of my posts were “how to ….” I think I would lose the interest of my readers.

    By the way I love how you tied your article into Harry Potter – I loved Snape!

  7. Carrie Chwierut says:

    I love thinking of titles that catch the reader’s attention without sounding too spammy. Funny thing is I find it easy to come up with catchy titles..it’s the content that follows that is hard! Hmm, maybe I should make that my business..coming up with just titles. ha!

  8. Carrie Keenan says:

    For all the articles I’ve written, I don’t think I have ever done a flat out “how to” post. After reading this, I think I’ll have to give it a try!

  9. Ian Said says:

    Great tips! You’ve just got me looking at all my blog post titles to see whether I could have used the How to… That or Easy/quick in my titles! I’m going to repost some of them using these tips. Great post.

    Thanks,
    Ian

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