7 ways to write a compelling headline

Why waste time and energy writing superb copy if your potential audience won’t click past a tepid headline or subject line? Try these approaches for attracting—and keeping—readers.

Your headline is the most important part of your blog or article post.

It is the first and usually only chance you have to get the attention of prospective readers. If they don’t read past your headline and click on your post then the body copy might as well not exist.

According to CopyBlogger, eight out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest.

This is why so much emphasis is placed on the headline in all forms of marketing and advertising.

Your headline has only one purpose—to get the next line read. The next line needs to get you to read the following line, and so it goes on until you reach a call to action.

There is no point in spending a couple of hours writing a post and allocating only a couple of minutes to your headline. If your post doesn’t get read, all your hard work will be wasted.

I want to help you to write headlines that will increase your readership.

Remember, these headline tips can work for email subject lines, tweets, Facebook posts, videos, and many other situations where you want to grab someone’s attention.

If you’ve ever studied copywriting for any length of time you will understand the huge importance of a killer headline. I am about to present to you seven ways to write a headline that will get your blog post read.

These formulas are shortcuts. If you want to write a truly effective, desire-driven headline for a sales page I would highly recommend reading “Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene Schwartz. This book will give you a thorough lesson in identifying your market desire and all the other good stuff that goes into crafting the perfect headline.

Let’s jump right into a few headline shortcuts.

1. The secret to _________

This one gets used a lot. People love to feel that you are letting them in on a secret—that they are obtaining some knowledge that others don’t have. Modify this headline as needed.

The secret to getting published on Forbes

The secret to gaining Twitter followers

2. 7 ways to _________

Lists are very popular. Give the reader a list of benefits. This demonstrates that you have some specific chunks of content for your reader.

7 ways to write a killer headline

7 ways to push back without being pushy

3. How to [mundane task] that [rewarding benefit]

People love to find out “how” to do things. Dig around and find of the benefits of your mundane task. Adding a benefit to the end can really enhance the headline and give the reader a reason to click your post.

How to create a website that makes money

How to write a headline that will get more people to read your blog

4. How to [desired result] without [painful objection]

Stating the desired result will get attention from a specific audience who wants that result. If you create the image that your post will overcome their most painful objection by including the word “without” will strengthen your claim.

How to get more Twitter followers without logging into your account

How to become successful without any skills, knowledge, or talent

5. [Do something] like [world-class example]

By comparing an activity to someone or something well know will add instant credibility. Your reader will be able to associate with a widely known example than to someone unknown.

Blog like an A-lister

Play golf like Tiger Woods

6. Now you can have [something desirable] [great circumstance]

Here’s a classic headline. Offering a benefit/desire coupled with an ideal situation/circumstance can get your reader to click through to your post in no time.

Now you can have that car of your dreams while working less

Now you can get more leads all on auto-pilot

7. What you need to know about _________

This headline implies that the reader is missing crucial information about a certain topic, and must click to find out what that is.

What you need to know about generating leads from social media

What you need to know about the 2013 London Marathon

These formulas are only a guide. I recommend playing around with the wording so you get it just right for your audience.

When you are writing, come up with a list of headline possibilities. That way you can pick the best one. Or you can use several different headlines when posting your content and measure which gets the most clicks. Then, edit your headline according to the one that resonated best.

Tom Crenshaw is the founder of Initia8 Marketing.

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