Want to make your articles, blog posts and emails 10 times more likely to be opened (and read)?
Write a juicy headline.
Sounds easy, right? Err, maybe not.
It’s almost unfair – You can craft the most delightful prose, but if your headline is ho hum, that prospect you’ve been trying to wow is just going to click <delete> and keep moving.
Professional copywriters – those wizards of Madison Ave who get paid tens of thousands of dollars for writing one email or one letter – know that the way to seize attention is through a killer headline.
And they spend 50% of their writing time on the headline.
They spend the other 50% writing the entire rest of the content. That’s how uber important your headline is.
An standout title can increase blog and article readers, visitor traffic, Facebook Likes, and Twitter clicks by 50% or more.
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 the headline, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece. ~Copyblogger
Powerful headlines grab your attention, screaming “read me!”
Effective ones spark universal human triggers like curiosity, fear, and desire for personal growth. They dig into your lizard brain and force you to read the material that follows.
But you can’t just dash off any old string of words and expect miracles. It takes effort and practice.
Here’s are three headline hacks that’ll help you find the funk:
1. Steal it. Tweak it.
You’re not a professional copywriter, but you can play one in your business. Grab a few magazines and study their headlines.
What’s the structure? How do they promise benefits? How do they pique your curiosity about the topic?
Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications says, “Start with the National Enquirer and tone it down.”
2. Go Madlibs.
Thanks to the magic of the internet, there’s a site that will automatically create hundreds of titles proven to work magic:
3. Just use these.
To get your brain cooking, here’s a list of ten headlines that work like magic, courtesy of the fantastic selling-through-writing website Copyblogger.com. All you have to do is adapt them to your topic.
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 like gangbusters for other subject matter.
2. The Secret of [blank]
This one is used quite a bit, but that’s because it works. Share insider knowledge and translate it into a benefit for the reader.
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.
4. Little Known Ways to [blank]
A more intriguing (and less common) way of accomplishing the same thing as “The Secret of…” headline.
5. Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
A classic formula that identifies either a painful problem or an unfulfilled desire that the reader wants to remedy.
6. Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
People love quick and easy when it comes to solving a nagging problem.
7. Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
The is the classic “have your cake and eat it too” headline — and who doesn’t like that?
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.
9. Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
Appeal to vanity, dissatisfaction, or shame. Enough said.
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.
Your Fame Building Assignment:
Now that you’ve got a list of headline formulas that work, put them into action for your business. This week, review your marketing communications – newsletter articles, blog posts, brochures, email messages, Facebook posts. Pick three and juice up those headlines.
It’s time to up your awesome so that more people tune into that magic you’ve got to share!