A new writer’s easy guide to finding the perfect headline

So far, I have written 13 stories on medium over the last six months.

The number of views and reads I get varies from month to month but overall remains relatively low.

I have noticed that some stories seem to be more popular than others.

One thing I regularly ask myself: Is the problem in the title?

Burying the lead

There is the concept of burying the lead. The title should declare the main aim of the article. A novice fails by burying his most exciting fact under a lot of auxiliary information.

Sometimes one of my paragraph’s headings is more exciting than the article heading.

The only way to fix this is to write more and reflect on the titles. As a moonlight writer, I rarely have the time and energy to write hundreds of headlines to train my inner title generator.

Nevertheless, I guess that I will get better over time.

Avoid clipping titles

Then there is the tip from Niklas Göke: you should avoid clipping your titles and subtitles.

I am guilty of having 4 clipped sub-titles, amounting to roughly 25 % of my titles.

I changed that and vow to oversee the limit in the future.

Using headline analyzer

Software engineer that I am, I wondered if there is any software helping you get better. These analyzers could be rule-based or machine-learning-trained.

Sadly I found no machine learning-based solution. All solutions work with word bags and reading-level statistics.

I settled for https://headlines.coschedule.com.

These are the improvements to my current headings. I aimed to reach at least a score of 70 points.

The general pattern is that the headlines are longer and feature more attention-grabbing words.

There are different categories of words (e.g., power words or emotional words). I tried to have at least one word in each category.

At the same time, I wanted an intelligible sentence and one that partly reflects the content.

Before improvementOld ScoreAfter improvementNew Score
Are you mentally depleted?41know, if you unwisely exhausted your mental energy supply for the day71
Effective cheating with statistics512 intricate ways statistics can influence the perception of the truth86
Why do we like other people?63How a good mood helps to smoothen things75
Why nobody has built your leadership60World Sensation: Why remarkably nobody has built your leadership77
Effective leaders listen for stories56Effective leaders listen for stories that touch the heart and mind78
What medium user need to know about leadership674 powerful secrets a medium user needs to know about leadership92
Storytelling for engineers33The world requires influential engineers with a passion for stories71
Self-organizing cross-functional teams need a cooperative environment57Successful cross-functional teams need the luxury of confidence and trust73
Discover your team’s common story39Three old but trusted ways to reveal your team’s common story;91
Spice up your presentations with some psychology44Good presenters embrace these psycho tips in their life92
Try these tips before lunch to get more followers57Try these 9 tips to get more and stronger follower growth81
Do you read?37Knowledge advice: 2 Ways to read a book and improve your understanding89
Try these mental tricks to gain the upper hand in conflicts64Try these priceless mental tricks to gain the upper hand in pointless conflicts71
Average Score5180

I raised my average score from 51 to 80 points. I must admit that most of the headings have a certain edge. They sound like many other social media posts.

What is your opinion? Should a new writer rely on the help of software to improve his headings?