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How To Write Effective Headlines and Become a Powerful Marketer

The headline is the most important part of an online document. Without an effective headline, the rest of the document will not be read. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to write effective headlines.

Advertising guru David Ogilvy believed the headline represented 90% of your advertising investment. If your headline does not work, the rest of your ad has no purpose.

Your headline must convey that your article is going to be worth reading, i.e. that it will be useful and/or entertaining.

Focus on What the Customer Will Get

People always think "What's in it for me?" A good headline will answer this question clearly.

Your headline should explain what the customer will get from your offer.

Your headline should be focused on what the customer gets.

E.g. weak headline:

How to Write Effective Headlines

E.g. strong headline, which answers "What's in it for me?":

How to Write Effective Headlines that Will Get Your Ads Read and Products Sold

Examples of popular benefits to convey are:

- Save money

- Make money

- Save time

- Get free stuff

Example template: How To + "What's In It For Me?" Benefit

e.g. "How to stop smoking in 20 days and feel better than ever".

The Four U's of Headline Writing

Your headline should:

  • be Unique
  • be Ultra-specific
  • convey Urgency
  • be Useful

Make Your Headline Unique

This shows you have a personality, which people will respond to.

If you show your personality and people like you, people are more likely to buy from you.

Write a unique headline and you will be distinctive, and people will notice you amongst the crowd.

Don't stick to common and boring sales messages because people will tune out.

Your Headline Should Be Ultra-Specific i.e. Relevant to Your Prospects

Your headline should be ultra-specific about a benefit so that customers can tell if the offer is of interest to them.

Also being specific about Who the headline is for helps your prospects to self-identify with the headline and decide to read further. Mentioning professions works in this context.

They may self-identify further if you add an aspirational quality to the profession, e.g. "Expert Graphic Designers", "Top Performing Athletes" etc.

Another way of saying this is that your headline must communicate that it is Relevant to your prospect.

Example headlines are:

"Top Performing Ecommerce Managers can turn abandoned carts into 17% more sales with our new product"

"Serious Graphic Designers should Read these 13 Tips to Create World Class Logos"

Your Headline Should Be Useful

Your headline should offer something useful to the reader. You have to convey how useful your article is going to be to them, otherwise why would they read it?

Don't try to be clever with your headline, just convey the usefulness. For example:

Original, clever but ineffective:

"Unleash your creativity with our new software"

Better:

"Create stunning photo effects in minutes with our user-friendly software"

Use Numbers to Convey Value

A number can convey value. Less common numbers such as 27 or 93 make the proposition more convincing, as it appears more likely be genuine.

E.g. Before:

"Proven Ways To Write Headlines That Catch Attention and Make Bank For You"

After:

"27 Proven Ways To Write Headlines That Catch Attention and Make Bank For You"

More convincing, right?

Demonstrate The Article is Useful by Using the Following List-Type Words

  • Ways
  • Tricks
  • Secrets
  • Reasons
  • Facts
  • Ideas
  • Principles

Use Compelling Adjectives

Use compelling adjectives in your headline to get the reader's interest. Examples are:

  • Strange
  • Fun
  • Free
  • Essential
  • Simple

Before:

"7 Ways to Make Fitness Training More Fun"

After:

"7 Simple Ways to Make Fitness Training More Fun"

Better, right?

Use Call to Action Words

Use a call to action word to encourage user action.

Example call to action words are:

  • Try
  • Visit
  • Experience
  • Subscribe to

Before:

"Our software lets you add stunning effects to your photos"

After:

"Try our software to add stunning effects to your photos"

Generate Intrigue and Curiosity

People are naturally curious, so if you generate intrigue in your headline it can increase its effectiveness. The word "Who" works well in this context.

For example:

"When Amazon wants to improve their conversion rate, this is who they call".

Intrigue can be created from new and exciting news, for example:

"This new idea in cross-training has impressed fitness trainers everywhere".

"This revolutionary diet plan is the best news for overweight people this year".

Use Social Pressure

People want to be in the in crowd and with the cool kids, so use this to your advantage in your headline, for example:

"The new hair-straightening technique that every glamorous girl needs to know about".

Ask Your Prospect A Question and Address Them with You

Asking a question engages your prospects as they feel compelled to answer, even if just in their heads.

For example:

"Are You Tired of Your Business Ventures Failing Miserably? Let our Simple 7 Step Plan Help You to Success".

Address a Problem Your Prospect is Facing

Your prospect is looking for a solution to a problem. Your headline therefore needs to address this problem, and show that you can help them with the problem.

If your headline can convey that you understand the problem, that also helps.

If you don't know what problems your customers are looking to solve, then survey them. Ask them questions such as:

- What would your ideal solution be?

- What is the biggest problem you think we can solve for you?

Don't Insult Your Prospects Intelligence

Don't insult your customers intelligence, don't talk down to them and don't be condescending. They won't buy from you.

Use the Word Free

People like free stuff, so if relevant, use it in your headline to improve read rates.

Keep Headlines As Succinct As They Can Be

Use the minimum number of words that will get your headline across clearly. If you headline is too wordy and rambling, you can lose readers.

Keep headlines simple and direct. Such headlines are more effective than those that are "clever".

Good headlines are at an elementary reading level. Don't use fancy words or flowery language.

Avoid Punctuation in Your Headline

In general, don't use punctuation in your headline, as you don't want anything interrupting your reading and preventing them from continuing on with the article.

Don't use full stops and commas. Use exclamation marks and question marks with care.

Use the Trigger Words What, Why, How or When

Use These Headline Templates

Template: Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

For example:

"How You Can Easily Find a New Career That Pays What You Deserve"

"6 Simple Ways to Write an Effective Headline in 30 Seconds"

You can switch the word order, so:

"19 Examples of Straightforward Social Media Techniques that Get Results"

Template: How To + Action + Promise

For example:

"How To Build a Personal Brand that Will Get You to the Top of Your Industry"

Template: Number + Positive Word + Promise or Details

For example:

"14 Fast Methods to Get More Customers from Your Website"

Template: Negative Word + Action + Keyword

"Stop Making These 3 Personal Finance Mistakes"

Template: Call To Action + Keyword + Promise

"Try these 9 strategies to become more popular at work and get promoted"

"Use these secret productivity tips to work less but earn more"

Useful Words for Writing Headlines

Adjectives for Writing Good Headlines

Amazing

Brilliant

Clever

Delicious

Easy

Effortless

Fascinating

Insane

Kick-Ass

Little Known

Mind-Blowing

Outrageous

Proven

Strange

Stunning

Surprising

Terrible

Useful

Winning

Nouns for Writing Good Headlines

Dos and Don'ts

Examples

Facts

Ideas

Lessons

Methods

Mistakes

Principles

Questions

Reasons

Resources

Rules

Secrets

Sins

Skills

Strategies

Tactics

Techniques

Templates

Tips

Tools

Tricks

Types

Ways

Call-To-Action Words for Writing Good Headlines

Apply

Ask

Become

Benefit

Break

Bring

Build

Combine

Create

Discover

Double

Drive

Eliminate

Fix

Gain

Generate

Get

Get Rid Of

Have

Improve

Increase

Keep

Learn

Make

Manage

Master

Maximise

Meet

Move

Overcome

Perform

Prepare

Produce

Promote

Prove

Save Money

Save Time

Set Goals

Start

Spice Up

Try This

Use

Guide Related Words for Headlines

101

An Easy

A Step-by-Step

The Advanced

The Beginner's

The Complete

The Definitive

The Essential

The Ultimate

The Short

The Simple

Positive Words for Headlines

Best

Biggest

Easiest

Fastest

Funniest

Greatest

Hottest

Largest

Most

Perfect

Quickest

Strongest

Top

Negative Words for Headlines

Avoid

By No Means

Don't

Never

None

Nothing

No One

No Way

Worst

Stop

Use Alliteration

Alliteration can make your headline better and more compelling. E.g. "The Foolproof Formula ..."

Headlines for Blog Posts

Blog headlines (or titles) can get better results if you mention something people like to see, e.g. [photos]

"The 9 Most Breathtaking Places in the World that Few People Know About [photos]"





 




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