Headlines are one of the cornerstones of effective copywriting. Without a great headline, no one’s going to pick up your magazine or click on a tweet about your article. An effective headline has to pique curiosity in a way that will stand out amidst the chaos and make someone click on your post. Lucky for us, there are great copywriting experts out there that are happy to help us work on, and perfect, our headlines. Here are just a few of my favorite resources:
- The most important thing is piquing someone’s curiosity.
- Use strong words. Sex, fat, thin, etc. Simple, strong words.
- People are more motivated by fear of failure or messing up than they are of the promise to be better. For instance, my post on MsMorphosis: Is Love Blind? What He Thinks When You Start Gaining Weight and Letting Yourself Go in a Relationship was effective because it’s a terrifying concept that many people don’t want to talk about. What is he thinking? Am I really letting myself go? Does he think I’m fat? That’s fear of failure. If I said “How to Look Prettier for Your Boyfriend” it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.
- Be specific about some sort of gain that will come from reading your post. Titles like “Happiness” look nice and pretty, but I don’t know what I’ll get out of reading this. Is it a poem? Is it about how to be happy? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY? When I don’t feel like I’ll get anything out of it, I’m unlikely to take the time to click on it and waste the time figuring out if it’s for me or not. Some much more effective alternatives would be – “20 Ways to Find Happiness in Unexpected Places” or “The Joy of Cooking: How Burning Meals Brought Me Happiness (Even When It Didn’t Taste Great)
- Say something unexpected. One of the greatest ways to catch someone’s attention is to pair two seemingly paradoxical components – for instance – happiness in cooking and burning meals. We naturally would associate burning meals with an unpleasant and embarrassing cooking experience. Yet, for the novice, the idea of being able to find joy even in the burnt meals sounds like a wonderful post to help get over beginner cooking anxiety.
- Know your audience. The more you’re able to read their minds, the easier it will be to write a headline. If someone’s been struggling with gaining weight in their relationship and is worried their boyfriend has noticed, what do you think they’re going to do when they see my Is Love Blind? What He Thinks When You Start Gaining Weight and Letting Yourself Go in a Relationship headline? 1) They’re going to think I’m a genius, 2) They’re going to click on it, 3) If it’s good, they’re going to share it. It all starts, though, with knowing your audience (and then knowing how to reach them)
- How to Write Headlines that Work by Brian Clark
- 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas that Work by Brian Clark
- 9 Proven Headline Formulas that Sell Like Crazy by Dean Rieck
- 7 More Sure-Fire Headline Templates that Work by Brian Clark
- Warning: Use These 5 Headline Formulas at Your Own Risk by Brian Clark
- 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines by Jeff Goins
Click here to watch the Copyblogger Headline Clinic with two of the field’s leading experts: Headline Hacks Webinar
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