Call me self-deluding, call me aspirational, call me whatever ... but I do write in the hope that someone somewhere will see what I've written and take something from it for themselves. I love to share, support and encourage, and I hope I manage to achieve that at least occasionally in my writing. But ... and it is a big BUT ... that is just not going to happen unless my prospective reader is somehow drawn in to actually reading what I've written.
And the tool that will achieve that ... or be the trigger for that reader to move on without a second glance ... is the HEADLINE, the first point of contact that seeks to invite readers to come check our writing out. Your headline - your choice of a few succinct descriptive words - is your greatest (and possibly only) advertising opportunity for your piece. It is what sells your piece to your reader. It can be the make or break point for your article or post; the catalyst for your message being spread more widely or the bucket of water that extinguishes your flame.
But what makes a headline work? I guess that is going to be different for everyone, but for me, it is several things. It is sometimes about posing a question that I believe my readers might be interested in, and posing it in a way that suggests that I might be someone who could perhaps answer that question for them in the body of my article or post. But also, because of my own writing style, I think that, for me, I need a headline to convey some sense of fun, some hint that the subsequent article isn't going to be dry and serious, but will have a twinkle in it's eye.
If I can achieve that, and people are drawn in to my writing as a result, then I'm over halfway to my goal of engaging and inspiring them .. once the headline has them hooked, all I have to do is deliver ... gulp!