When your ideal clients open a newspaper or magazine, or scan through their email subject lines, it is the headline that has to grab their attention. If you are not writing headlines that grab a hold of the attention of your ideal clients, then you are definitely not getting them to read the message that follows. This is a marketing fail.
Forget everything you think you know about writing headlines. Now that you have a clean slate, let’s build your ability to write a headline from the ground up.
Headline Secrets Revealed
Keep in mind that the headline is really a short description of the story that follows. If it is an email you are sending to your clients, then the “headline” is the subject line that gets them to open the email. If you are writing an informational article for your website, blog or e-newsletter, then the headline is a teaser of all of the valuable information the article holds, to compel them to read it.
The sole purpose of a headline is to attract the reader to read what you have to say next!
5 Steps to Writing Headlines that Rock
- Be clear, concise and to the point. It’s great to be creative with your headlines, but you also want the reader to understand it enough to see the value that the rest of the story holds. If the headline is clear enough for them to comprehend what’s behind clicking on a link or opening an email, then they are more apt to read on.
- Ask yourself the question: Would this headline excite me enough to read the rest? If you can honestly answer yes, then you’ve accomplished your goal. If your own headline is making your eyes droop with sleepiness and boredom, keep working on writing a more exciting headline.
- Make sure that the supporting copy or text backs up the headline. In other words, does your headline make a promise that you can deliver with the rest of the message or story?
- Get numerical. People love to read specific statistics and to see numbers in headlines. Instead of “Ways to Ramp up Your Headlines,” the title, “5 Ways to Make Your Headlines Sizzle” is typically more attractive to readers. They know that by reading the rest of the article they are going to learn five ways to write great headlines.
- The best and the worst. Finally, some of the best headlines include lists that describe the best and worst of something. It might or might not include a number, but people love to be in the know about the best ways to do something and the worst ways of doing it, so they can avoid doing it that way.
Write your headline first. Then, continue on to write the story or body copy of the piece. When you are done writing, go back and look at your headline. If it passes the test of these five points, then you are done. If not, rework the headline until it sizzles and sells the story you have to tell.