Anyone in the online marketing world knows that content is king. In the end, it doesn't matter how many keywords you stuff into a single article, how interesting your images and infographics are, or how exciting the design colours of your website turn out to be. What matters the most, and what will continue to matter for years to come, allowing your content assets to achieve an ongoing, evergreen effectiveness, is the quality of your content.
On the other hand, perhaps the second most important thing you need to consider when it comes to writing an online article is the headline. More than just the title to your article, your headline is often the strongest attractor, the one thing that will get people to click on your article, allowing them to discover the amazing content you have provided.
Since we know that both content and headline are of absolute importance, an interesting question to consider is this: which should you write first?
There are powerful reasons to start with your article's headline, but, then again, the same can be said about the reasons to start with the content, adding the headline after the article has been written.
Let's consider some of the reasons for each argument, and, along the way, we are sure to find some important tips for creating better content assets that are sure to boost effectiveness.
For many content creators, especially those of you that are working within a marketing team of a large company, the headline for your article may be set in stone before the assignment even makes it to your desk. In such a case going headline first is your only option.
For many other cases, however, either a specific headline has not been chosen for the content asset you need to prepare, or perhaps the assignment comes with the headline, but you have some wiggle room when it comes to adjusting that headline to either make it better or make it a better fit for the final product.
If you have the ability to change the headline, or if you have the absolute freedom to choose your own headline, why might you decide on a headline before even breaking into the first draft of the article? Here are a few reasons.
If you are not required to start with the headline, and if the headline has not been given to you along with the assignment, could you simply choose to skip the headline and jump right into the content?
When some writers get excited about a new idea, that enthusiasm can only be satisfied if you jump right in and start crafting the first draft. Are there any benefits to writing an article with the content first, leaving the headline as the last thing you think about, the proverbial star on top of the Christmas tree? Here are a few points to consider.
As you can see, choosing to go headline first or content first is not a simple decision to make. It may be that your current job dictates the way you approach writing a article. Or it may be that your personality as a content creator causes you to default in one direction or the other. That is perfectly okay, because there are convincing reasons in both directions, and there isn't necessarily a wrong answer here.
However, if you have always done things in one way, perhaps content first, it might be educational for you to at least try doing things the other way, perhaps headline first. You may learn certain things about your abilities as a writer and marketer, and the results may be surprisingly good or utterly bad.
In the end, whatever helps you create the very best content asset for your company or client, whatever process helps you create faster and more efficiently, and whichever order helps you create an article that perfectly fits your ideal audience, that must be the best option for you.
Now, if only the classic "chicken and the egg" riddle were as easy to solve!
Learn more about Content Marketing, Content Intelligence, Content Marketing Artificial Intelligence on our blog.
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