Should You Write Your Headline First or Last?

headlineThere’s been a lot written on why you should write your headline before writing a blog post. But there’s been an equal amount of content published arguing the exact opposite. While both sides argue passionately about their stance, what if I told you that in the end, it doesn’t really matter when your headline is written? Your content must be able to stand on its own merits. A headline is simply a tool to get people to click on the link, but now it’s up for your words to do the talking.

When You Should Write Your Headline First

If you have a general idea about what you want your post to be about, but don’t have a specific spin or angle from which to approach it, then you should write the headline first. Focusing on writing a compelling headline will give you the opportunity to create a specific vantage point that you’ll want to approach the post with. For instance, if you want to write a post about swimming pools, but don’t know what to specifically write about, a creating a title such as Why Your Swimming Pool Needs a Fountain will give you a platform to write on.

Considerations for writing your headline first include:

  • Attention grabbing. While you want your headline to be attention grabbing, be sure it’s not too narrow of a headline. You still want to be able to place the focus on your content itself. But since an audience will lose attention within 7 seconds, grabbing attention is crucial.
  • Remember the 50/50 rule. You can spend the same amount of time to write the headline that it took you to write the post, but you never want it to exceed the 50/50 ratio.

When to Write Your Headline Last

On the other hand, if you do know exactly how you want your post to unfold, you don’t want to hamper your efforts with a narrow headline. Rather, write the content first, and then reflect afterwards to determine a headline that best reflects – and grabs attention for – the content.

Even if you decide to write the headline last, remember that it’s fine to:

  • Write with a working title. Never feel like you’re bound to the title. It can be changed any moment before publishing your post.
  • Put passion over process. Despite the “Should I write my headline first or last debate,” it’s totally fine to ignore the process for passion. The reality is that regardless of when you write your headline, your content should still be strong!

How do you craft a great headline? Share your process in the comments below!

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Daniel Chioco is a writer living in Nashville, TN. He earned his Commercial Music degree at Belmont University, where he also studied creative writing and wrote for the student newspaper. When he isn't creating content, Daniel works as an actor and films YouTube videos. He is also a freelance musician and is authoring his first fantasy novel.

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