When I first started writing my theatre blog 11 years ago my headlines were rubbish.
I was trying to be clever or witty, sometimes using puns or a play on words.
But the more I learned about writing online content, the more I realised my approach was entirely based on what worked in print rather than online.
My experience and background was magazine journalism after all.
An article in a magazine or newspaper has images, graphics, tables, box-outs, subheadings etc. which help grab attention.
And an article in a magazine may already have context.
If someone has picked up a copy of ‘Window Box Weekly’, they are probably interested or at least curious about window boxes.
Try to find your own content
A big test was trying to find my own theatre blog content using Google. I knew I’d reviewed a particular production, but my ‘clever’ headlines meant it wasn’t coming up in searches – certainly not on the first few pages of results.
For example, I saw a play called Grief by Mike Leigh, and the headline of my review was ‘Good Grief?’
See what I did there? It might work if the piece sat in the theatre review section of newspaper or magazine, alongside a production photo and a subhead.
But out of context and with just two words to go on, it didn’t work so well.
Getting savvier about online search
As I started to understand how people find stuff to read online (search engines, social media etc.), I realised my headline style needed to change so that people could find my blog posts.
And know what they were about from the headline.Continue reading “Learning the hard way how to write web content headlines”