When comparing engaging headlines, we must also consider the opening lines. Creating an engaging beginning is both art and science.
The headline and opening line requires an excellent match. The first one gets your interest. The second gets you hooked to read the rest.
Let’s compare different media and see what we can learn from them.
Wall Street Journal vs. WordPress Blog
Why a perfect beginning matters
The 4 most important hooks
To get the reader’s interest, the most important hook is the headline. Occasionally, images* can hook the reader. A headline needs to lead up to the opening lines and the subtitles. Ultimately, the content has to match that perfect beginning. Otherwise you are just producing click baits.
As a comparison, Instagram and Facebook
are almost entirely depending on images and videos for attention.
An engaging headline should produce more than just empty clicks. Together with the opening lines, it must get to the point and attract the browser to stay and ultimately take action.
Different needs for different media
Wall Street Journal
WordPress blog post
Different media have different dynamics. A business magazine like the Wall Street Journal differs greatly from a blog post. However, it depends how professional it is.
3 Wall Street Journal articles
"Appeals to a dream"
I Was a Jaded World Traveler. Then I Went to Siberia
“A travel journalist who’d lost her sense of wonder chasing $1,000-a-night hotels exiles herself to the Russian hinterland—and finds her spirit renewed.
THE CHUYSKY TRAKT is one of the world’s great drives. This 600-mile-long highway links Novosibirsk…”
"Relates to personal issues"
These Moms Got on TikTok to Understand Their Kids. Then….They Stayed.
“A thriving community of single moms is using teen video app TikTok to celebrate their divorces, grieve their losses and even discipline their kids.
As soon as Jamie Garrison signed her divorce papers, she turned up the Spice Girls…”
"Attracting with a scandal"
3 WordPress blogs
"Appealing to personal values"
SOCIAL GOOD SUMMIT: Using Digital Tools To Change The World
“How can new technology and new media create solutions for the problems that our communities face to shape a better future? This is the question that the annual Social Good Summit will be focusing on as attendees come together in New York City for this annual event that also invites everyone to create and join…”
"Solves a personal problem"
How to Source and Share Content on Your WordPress Site
“When you consider adding new content to your website or blog, you’re likely to think about creating long form articles or original posts.
This is only natural, and most sites will want to prioritize unique content. However, it can also be a smart move to…”
"Very personal and entertaining"
The Motherfucking Hurty Phase explained
“Chatting with a friend recently when all of a sudden out of the blue she burst out with “And what the actual fuck is this ovulation pain bullshit!”
It is just ANOTHER thing we women silently deal with and I wish to air my views on it. I am going to be talking about periods today and…”
A quick comparison
Wall Street Journal
Making news personal and entertaining
WSJ builds strongly on personal stories. They connect stories and news to people we can relate to.
TAKE-AWAY: It doesn’t matter if the reader knows the person in the story. It works anyway.
There is not even need for emotional keywords – the story itself makes it emotional and personal.
Sharing (personal) ideas and solutions
People looking for solutions often end up on blog posts. These posts often have a rather personal and extensive take on one subject.
TAKE-AWAY: Some bloggers do clearly not have SEO optimised headlines. Their success comes from gathering hundreds of articles related around one topic. These clusters get them higher rankings.
That is the future of keywords based on higher AI.
Told in keywords, it’ about:
SHARING | STORIES | AND SOLUTIONS | ENTERTAININGLY | AND PERSONALLY RELATED
In other words… The Big News are made personal by adding people and their stories.
The blogs are mostly personal and exist because they add value by offering advice and solutions.
These two trends are clearly reflected in their headlines.