Sizzling Up Your Headlines – Writing Headlines That Convert

Writing headlines can be a tricky business, and being the most important factor in pulling your reader in, it’s surprising how little effort many marketers put into them.

Don’t underestimate the important of a good headline for your content, and don’t leave it to chance. If you use boring headlines your readership will suffer, it’s as simple as that!

local-news-standWhere do you learn how to write kick-ass headlines?

I believe the best place to learn how to write irresistible headlines that literally “force people” to want to read the rest of your content is not in school, (although there are a few good books that can help).

If you want to learn how to create headlines that people can’t help but read, then your best starting point is to visit the newspaper stand in your local supermarket and turn to the tabloid section.

Let’s get started!

Let's just get cut right into it and find out what makes for a great headline and how you can quickly learn to write them!

Recognition, curiosity and trust are the three main ingredients in an irresistible headline.

Recognition

The reason recognition works in a headline is the same way as with authority, people respond to figures that have already managed to gain their positive feelings.

That matters even more when the decision making process is one of fractions of a second. Imagine yourself in a grocery shop, on a Friday evening, all tired and wanting to go home, in a jammed up city. You move robotically between the isles and pick up the things that you are the most FAMILIAR with, the things that don’t require much decision and no real mental effort.

Trust

trustWe all respond well to things and people that we trust.

It works the same way when you send emails, you have to get close to your readers. You have to be their breakfast Nutella, the trustworthy Kellogg's cereals.

You have to make them know that you’re there to deliver something good for them, so that when they see the sender, the recognition and trust will work as a binder between you as a brand and the idea, service or product you’re introducing with the headline.

Point out specific benefits

Your headlines need to offer an original benefit and reason why the reader should continue reading.

Preferably it should be an original benefit that the reader can’t easily find anywhere else in the form you present it, or at least haven’t seen. Make sure to emphasis the originality of your benefits in order to stand out from the competition.

The targeted elements refer to the fact that the benefits need to be tightly focused towards the reader or the customer you are targeting.

For example, Kellogg's is known as “breakfast food” and they focus almost all their marketing elements on that area. However, we need to be even more precise than this, when we talk specifically about a headline.

Let's take this example:

weight-articleLearn how to lose weight

You must agree that it is very broad and vague headline.

In contrast a headline that offers to show the reader:

How to lose 7 pounds in the next 10 days

Is much more specific and tangible, and it’s very clear what benefit the reader will get from reading your article.

Numbers rule our lives and we’re magically drawn by them, so if it makes sense to use them in your headline then do it!

A specific headline is much more likely to prompt the reader to find out as much as possible.

If you are using numbers, one old “trick” is to use non-even numbers.

For example, the headline:

Learn how an out-of-work accountant made $11,298 in just 28 days

Sounds much more credible and intriguing than:

Learn how to get rich

Or even

Learn how to make $12,000

The last point to remember is that the headline should offer a definite advantage for the reader to learn more. We are primarily interested in what is in our own best interests.

Many marketers make the mistake of discussing the features of their product rather than the outcome it helps the buyer achieve.

Curiosity

peeking

As I mentioned before, one of the best “schools” to learn how to write magnetic headlines is in the supermarket check-out line.

Next time you are waiting to pay for your groceries take a closer look at the tabloid magazines, like Cosmopolitan and People Magazine, which are located on these racks. You’ll find that almost all these headline are benefit and curiosity driven.

The copywriters who come up with the headlines are masters of their craft. They know that they need to immediately grab the casual passer by's attention so that they are intrigued enough to pick up a copy and add it to their shopping cart.

Getting headline ideas online

The supermarket isn't the only place you can learn to write great headlines.

If you are sitting in front of your computer visit the DailyMail.co.uk. When you arrive at the website your eyes will inevitably drift to the right hand side of the screen. This section of the website has been dubbed the “Sidebar of shame” thanks to its revealing pictures of celebrities. While the content tends to be more than a little tawdry, it is also some of the best copywriting you will find online.

mail

Many of the headlines in this section are almost irresistible to click, and once again curiosity is the main driver to make us want to click to read more.

It’s headlines like these that have helped to contribute to the more than 50 million views the website gets each month.

When you visit the website open up a notepad or WordPress doc. Start writing headlines which seem most “irresistible.” Study these headlines carefully and look for the common elements that make them so intriguing.

Putting it all into practice

sizzling-up-your-headlines

Writing headlines takes study and practice. Make a daily ritual of recording and learning from great headlines and then spend some time writing down a few of your own. The more you practice writing headlines the faster you will improve at this critical marketing skill.

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