Should I have written this headline first?

by Carl Natale on September 16, 2010

There’s a very good post on three things your blog needs if it’s going to work for your business:

  1. Point of view
  2. Really great headlines
  3. Calls to action

Anne Handley nails it. But when she talks about headlines, she adds this:

One trick I almost always follow is this one: Write the headline before you write the post. Doing so helps you focus on the key idea of the message—the “promise” to the reader Brian talks about—without meandering all over the place and creating a disorganized, overstuffed mess. (I wrote the headline to this post before I wrote post, in fact.)

via 3 Not-So-Obvious Things Your Blog Needs : Marketing :: American Express OPEN Forum.

I don’t know. Meandering seems to work for me. Sometimes I don’t know where the blog is going to lead me.

Even if you’re not “creating a disorganized, overstuffed mess,” there may be a good reason to write the headline last. Sometimes it becomes a hurdle to writing. The emphasis on a good, focused headline is a hurdle.

I say just write what you want to say. Tune it up. Reorganize if need be. Then your headline becomes easier to write.

But she is right about making sure it draws in readers and gets the message across.

I would add one more thing the blog needs: a solution. For example, Handley’s post helps solve a problem that business bloggers may have: “My blog isn’t doing anything for my business.”

This post I’m writing helps solve the same problem. Too bad I’m not solving any problems you may have with headline writing – yet.

Maybe I should have written the headline first.

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