Want to write great headlines and even better content?
Do you want more readers for your email newsletter or blog and more buyers for your products?
Start with the headline first.
Picture your blog post being retweeted thousands of times on Twitter, and shared all over Facebook. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be in a better place to make that scenario a reality.
The biggest battle is getting enough people to read in the first place. And that battle is won or lost at the headline.
Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a compelling promise that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.
So, from a copywriting and content marketing standpoint, writing great headlines is a critical skill.
Here are some interesting statistics…
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.
Remember, every element of compelling copy has just one purpose — to get the next sentence read. And then the sentence after that, and so on, all the way down to your call to action. So it’s fairly obvious that if people stop at the headline, you’re already dead in the water.
The better your headline, the better your odds of beating the averages and getting what you’ve written read by a larger percentage of people.
Once you understand why magnetic headlines pull readers in, you’ll know how to do it for your own sales pages, every time. Follow along with me for the next ninety seconds and I’ll show you exactly how you can turn a casual browser of your sales page into an avid reader, curious to drink in your copy until ultimately hitting the “Buy” button.
Tell your readers’ they’re in the right place
In order to stop readers in their tracks, capture their attention through every word of your copy, and persuade them to click that “Add to Cart” button without a second thought, you need to master the “headline reading psychology” of your soon-to-be customers.
So many people create clever turns of phrase hoping to pull people into their sales copy and wonder why their catchy headlines just don’t work. The answer is simple: Readers are busy people, and they don’t have time to study your sales letter to see if it’s relevant to them. Instead, they rely on you to do that work for them.
But how do you do that? The answer to that is simple as well: You make sure your headline is clear, not clever, telling the reader exactly what your sales copy is poised to deliver.
Use specific keywords that show without a doubt that your page is relevant to people with a specific need or a specific problem – and don’t over-think it. If you’re a blogger, you probably already do this with your post titles, so apply that same thinking to your headlines.
For example, look at the title for this post – it’s about “how to write headlines.” Ever wonder why you always hear such high praise for “How To” headlines? It’s because they’re extremely relevant by nature. Keep in mind, however, that a “how to” headline might not be the most powerful choice for your particular sales page.
When it’s time to write your headline, think of the primary, top-of-mind problem or result your readers are after and make that the foundation of your headline. Do this right, and your readers will automatically know that they’re in the right place – and save your cleverness for later.
Next, add the carrot: Attach a powerful result to your headline
After you set up relevance to your readers’ immediate needs, you need to help your readers connect to a mouth-watering result that comes from addressing that need. The often quoted “How to ____ so you can ____” is a great example of bridging relevance to result.
Never forget that your readers aren’t looking for products or services – they’re looking for beneficial outcomes, and the relevant keywords you write into your headline are often the means to that outcome. So ask yourself why your readers want to take that relevant action, and you’ll be guided to a promise or two that you can make in your headline.
I’ll use this post as an example again – you’re reading this far because you want to know how to write headlines, but what you’re really after is getting people to buy from your sales page.
Finally, dress it up: Add emotionally stirring and action words to your headline
Once you’ve married relevance to outcome, it’s time to add a little flavor to your headline by hand-picking compelling words to make those two features “pop.”
In this post I modified “headlines” with the adjective “eye-catching” to add some life to the text. I’ve also used the powerful transitive verb “transform” to suggest feasible change, which intensifies the promise of desired results.
Pick words that make the relevant keywords or the desired results seem more powerful and attainable – or simply add a third part to the headline like a time-frame or a variation of “easy” or “simple” (if it applies).
Take a few moments to read through headlines in magazine articles with a more educated eye, looking for how each example uses relevance, results, and powerful modifiers to make you want to read each article to the end.
Which, now that you think about it, you’ve just done with this article.