Write Better Blog Headlines: Tonight at 6

“Woman fears husband sleepwalked into river…tonight at 6.”

Rowing on the River at Sunrise

image credit: RonAlmog

If you watch your local television stations or listen to the local radio stations you’ve heard them before. Nighttime news headlines are some of the most effective in any industry.

Why do the local news providers have the ability to capture our attention and get us to tune in for their content broadcasts?

Let’s look at a few of the techniques local news stations use to get you to pay attention to their content.

I’ve taken a few headlines from my local news station WEAU as examples.

Urgency

Examples

FDA says stop using Hydroxycut

Next Worry: Contaminated Spinach

Local news stations are great at using short snippets and headlines bursts throughout the day to create a sense of urgency among listeners. You could be driving home to work in the morning and hear a headline like the one above and instantly become curious as to the impact on your life or the life of someone you know.

You might hear the same 5 second headline throughout the day on the radio or on the TV during your lunch in the break room. By the time six o’clock rolls around you can’t wait to find out how this is going to affect you and those you know.

The news station has established the need for you to know information now so you won’t be affected by the content they are sharing. This is a powerful use of a headline.

Your Hunting Business

If you have a blog for your hunting business or if you are marketing new products and services, creating a sense of urgency can be a powerful way to gain the attention of your customers.

Are you releasing a new service or product that you know your customers need? Is there a last minute availability of a great outfitting adventure? (see Outdoors International for a great example) Are you running a sale that ends in 8 hours?

Let the urgency of your customers guide your headline writing if the content, product, or service warrants it. It’s a great way to gain attention.

Make sure you are focusing on the urgency of your customers and not your own urgency. There is a difference and it’s important to remember if you are going to use this strategy. Make sure you are adding value to your customers’ lives. Don’t waste their time because you have your own urgency. They won’t pay attention.

But if you put their needs first they’ll reward you and your business will succeed.

Just remember (and this applies to all of the techniques in this post) that your content, products, and services must meet the expectations your headlines create for your customers. Otherwise you’ll find your customers going somewhere else where they can be satisfied.

Side note: for more on the FDA, see the article Abolish the FDA.

Curiosity

Example

Man dies in tractor rollover

Unfortunately, here in Wisconsin this is a curious, but not an uncommon occurrence. With a declining, but still a good number of dairy and other farms in the area, the farming season brings tragedies every year.

Even though the headline is not unfamiliar it still sparks curiosity in readers and listeners. People in this area will wonder “Do I know the farmer?” “How did it happen?” “What are the details?”

We’re human and tragedy is part of life unfortunately. We are drawn to curious stories like this.

Your Hunting Business

Now, a curiosity headline does not always have to be a tragedy. People are naturally curious about tragedy, but they are curious about other subjects as well.

Hunter kills record buck with longbow

New Outfitter offers never before hunted property in Buffalo County

New pocket flashlight that actually lights up your path debuts

Curiosity is another powerful emotion that local news sources use to draw in your attention. You can do the same for your hunting business, Website, and blog. Appeal to the curiosity of your customers and visitors by creating content, products, and services around a topic of their interest.

Participation

Example

Police need your help in finding a man who stole money from a store

A call to action headline creates instant intrigue for readers, listeners, and viewers. Many successful news stations use calls to action to further their connection with their audience. Usually these headlines offer phone numbers, Websites, and addresses for viewers to contact to provide help.

People love to help others. It’s our nature. We like to know that we have helped someone else succeed. It makes us feel good about ourselves. If a viewer is the one who helps find a thief, they’ll have a lifetime story to tell their family and buddies. The act of participating adds value to the viewer’s life.

Local news stations are always providing a way for viewers to participate: donations, events, crime assistance, and more.

Participation is a great way to form deeper connections and loyal fellowship.

Your Hunting Business

You can ask for your readers to participate on your own Website or blog. Make sure you have their values and needs in mind when you are asking though.

Maybe you need help developing a new product. Show the early stages of a new design and ask your readers for their opinion. Then share the best insights on your blog and thank the customers for their help. They’ll have something to tell their hunting buddies. “I helped out [insert your big hunting company here] with their new bow.” You could even offer them a first edition of the product. You’d have a customer for life plus their word of mouth will grow your following.

Relevant

Example

Chippewa Valley man creates iPhone App

It’s always intriguing when a local person succeeds with something big.

I just realized another example as a kid from my high school (town of 4,000) made it to the early Green Bay Packers roster.

Mosinee’s Heckendorf Living the Packer Dream

These stories are relevant to a certain group of individuals. It gives their lives meaning to know that events are affecting their lives and in these examples that it is possible to become successful no matter who you are.

Your Hunting Business

News doesn’t have to be local to be relevant. There are many ways to connect with your audience to make your company relevant to them. Local news or topics of interest are just one way to be relevant to your customer.

Speaking to specific needs and worldviews are also ways to provide relevant content, products, and services to your customers.

New technology may change bow hunting

A new way to combine beer and deer hunting

A group of innovative women create one of the best hunting cabins in the area

Specific activities, interests, demographics, and more are all ways to create relevancy in your hunting business’s blog headlines, product taglines, and service announcements.

Remember who your customers are and speak with language, content, products, and services that are relevant.

Conclusion

Gaining attention for your quality blog content on the Web is important to improving your connections with your customers.

Strong headlines are crucial for getting the precious attention of your current and potential customers. The Web is a world of headlines on the surface (with deeper, richer content underneath) so to stand out and gain precious attention you’ll have to create headlines that intrigue your audience.

Look at your local news providers for ideas on how to create attention-getting headlines. Those news stations have been working to gain attention for a long time and they have many successful techniques. Pay attention to their strategies and use them for your own blog.

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Dayne Shuda

I'm a blogger and hunting enthusiast. Follow me on Twitter.