How to write great headlines
Want to write great headlines, and even better content? Start with the headline first.
Of course, you’ll need to have a basic idea for the subject matter of your blog post, article, free report, or sales letter. Then, simply take that basic idea and craft a killer headline before you write a single word of the body content.
Your headline is a promise to the readers. Its job is to clearly communicate the benefit you’ll deliver to the reader in exchange for their valuable time.
The biggest battle is getting enough people to read your article/blog in the first place. And that battle is won or lost at the headline. On an average, 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 will go on to read the content.
There are certain types of headlines that can gain guaranteed attention.Let’s see what kind of headlines are these!
“How To” Headlines
It’s been said that it’s almost impossible to write a bad “how to…” headline. That may be true, but what comes after those two magical words can make all the difference in the amount of attention and readership your writing gets.
- How to…and..
This one is by far the most famous “how to…” headline :
How to Win Friends and Influence People
It’s much smarter from a credibility standpoint to use this structure when benefit one and benefit two are actually related.
Some more examples of this type could be :
How to Get a Better Job and Make More Money
How to Save Time and Get Things Done
- How to…that..
Often, you can simply take a normal “how to…” title and make it better just by using the transition word “that” immediately following the subject matter of the tutorial.
Once you add “that,” just ask yourself what the top benefit of your tutorial is. Then figure out the best way to say it
How to write a blog that gets great attention
How to convince people that your product is the best
You can also leave out the ‘to’ and create some amazing headlines like :
How I got the idea for my new business
How I decided to become a businessman
List content always works, in large part due to the attention-grabbing power of the headline. Any headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, types, or ways will work because it makes a very specific promise of what’s in store for the reader.
Let’s go through a few list post patterns that will definitely help you grab attention :
1. Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes?
This type of headline can be used to demonstrate the expertise that only comes from really knowing your business or niche. People love to get a “heads up” on potential problems.
2. 10 Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer
A classic that can only flop if you fail to deliver. Concentrate on writing content that sparkles, and people will acknowledge that you not only know what you’re talking about, but you also communicate it well.
3. Four Familiar Skin Troubles
Commiserate with your readers by setting forth problems you know they are having, and they just might determine that you are the right solution.
4. Six Types of Businessmen — Which one are you?
Give a chance to the reader self-identify themselves by providing categories into which they will likely fall into. You know about the power of using the word “you” when addressing readers, but people love it even more when they can focus on themselves.
5. How to Give Your Children Extra Protein — These 5 Delicious Ways
A “how to” headline mixed in with a list — it’s almost not fair. Note that the word “these” plus the number of items, followed by “(adjective) ways,” is an extremely specific and powerful use of 4 simple words.
6. Free Book Tells You 12 Secrets of Better Hair Care
Use this style of headline and content structure with a free report or tutorial that you are promoting, and you should get wider circulation.
7. 51 Reasons Why It Would Have Paid You to Subscribe to us a Few Months Ago
An especially bold headline that worked wonders for a popular news magazine. The number of reasons given is so large it’s almost absurd, and that’s good from a value standpoint with free content. Plus, by referring back to previous ads, the piece points out the peril of not paying attention earlier.
10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work
So, you’re seeing too many of those “how to” and list headlines, and want to try a few different angles? Let’s move beyond those common headline formulas you see over and over, and add some new blood to your attention-grabbing arsenal.
1. Who Else Wants [blank]?
Starting a headline with “Who Else Wants…” is a classic social proof strategy that implies an already existing consensus desire. While overused in the Internet marketing arena, it still works great like gangbusters for other subject matter.
• Who Else Wants a Great WordPress Theme?
• Who Else Wants a Higher Paying Job?
2. The Secret of [blank]
This one is used quite a bit, but that’s because it works.
• The Secret of Successful Podcasting
• The Secret of Getting Your Home Loan Approved
3. Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
Simply identify your target audience and the benefit you can provide them, and fill in the blanks.
• Here is a Method That is Helping Children Learn to Read Sooner
• Here is a Method That is Helping Bloggers Write Better Post Titles
4. Little Known Ways to [blank]
A more intriguing (and less common) way of accomplishing the same thing as “The Secret of…” headline.
• Little Known Ways to Save on Your Electricity Bill
• Little Known Ways to Lose Weight Quickly and Safely
5. Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
A classic formula which identifies either a painful problem or an unfulfilled desire that the reader wants to remedy.
• Get Rid of Your Unproductive Work Habits Once and For All
• Get Rid of That Carpet Stain Once and For All
• Get Rid of That Lame Mullet Hairdo Once and For All
6. Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
People love quick and easy when it comes to solving a nagging problem.
• Here’s a Quick Way to Get Over a Cold
• Here’s a Quick Way to Backup Your Hard Drive
7. Now You Can Have [great circumstance]
This is the classic “have your cake and eat it too” headline — and who doesn’t
• Now You Can Quit Your Job and Make Even More Money
• Now You Can Meet Sexy Singles Online Without Spending a Dime
• Now You Can Own a Cool Mac and Still Run Windows
8. [Do something] like [world-class example]
Gatorade milked this one fully with the “Be Like Mike” campaign featuring
Michael Jordan in the early 1990s.
• Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat
• Party Like Paris Hilton
• Blog Like an A-Lister
9. Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
Appeal to vanity, dissatisfaction, or shame. Enough said.
• Build a Body You Can Be Proud Of
• Have a Smile You Can Be Proud Of
• Build a Blog Network You Can Be Proud Of
10. What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
Big curiosity draw with this type of headline, and it acts almost as a challenge
to the reader to go ahead and see if they are missing something.
• What Everybody Ought to Know About Mobile-Responsive Design
• What Everybody Ought to Know About Writing Great Headlines
Study the formulas above, start your own swipe file, and make sure you continue to practice every time you create a new piece of content — whether it’s a blog post, free e-book, tutorial video, or sales letter.
Now it’s your turn — go out there and create some spectacular headlines.
The better you get at writing them, the more your content (and your business) will improve!