Write Eye-Catching Headlines Using These 10 Surefire Tips David Ogilvy, a successful advertising man and author of “Confessions of an Advertising Man” has this to say about headlines: “The headline is the most important element in most advertisements. It is the telegram which decides the reader whether to read the copy.” The same thing can be said of writing headlines or titles for articles on the Internet that will attract traffic to your website. It sounds like a difficult task, but you can solve the mystery of writing a compelling headline when you apply tried and true methods to developing them. Writing great headlines is not something that those creative types innately know how to do; it is more often than not a learned skill. So, yes, you too, can write catchy headlines. Check out the following 10 surefire methods and you will be well on your way to gaining an audience for your writing; and if the content of your article lives up to the expectation your headline sets forth, you may even see your article spin off on a viral excursion.
10 Headline Methods to Apply to Your Articles 1.
Write Your Headline Before Article Content
Understanding the functions of your headline is key to writing a great one. According to copywriting guru Robert W. Bly, a headline can perform 4 different tasks:
Select the Audience Get Reader Attention Deliver a Promise Draw the reader to the content of an article
The main purpose of a headline is to grab a reader’s attention and make them stop long enough to start reading your article. The headline is the first impression an article makes and it determines whether a person browsing the Internet will be compelled to stop at your article and linger there. A good headline in effect says, “Read this and you’ll attain that, I promise”. By writing your headline before writing the content of your article, you are establishing a promise that you must fulfill within your content. Without writing a headline first, a writer hasn’t committed to a promise or a benefit that a reader will attain from spending their valuable time reading your article. With today’s readership, time is everything. They want to know how they can do something better, faster, etc. and they want to learn about it as quickly as possible. So start with the headline, the promise, and then write content that will follow true to the headline. Never write a cutesy headline that grabs a reader’s attention but doesn’t stay true to the content. If you do, the reader will browse on to another article that gives them what they are
looking for – something that arouses their interest and gives them substance that holds true to the headline that motivated them to click on the link in the first place. The “List” Headlines
List headlines always work. You’ve seen the list-type headline written many different ways and the reason you see it so often is that it is a powerful attention-grabbing headline format. The list works so well because it is an easy way to tell the reader what’s in store for them if they read your article. You’ll have a satisfied reader if you deliver on the promise to give them the quick and easy lowdown on your subject of expertise. The reader doesn’t have to invest much time perusing a list of ideas that interests them while gaining some benefit in the process. Here are some examples that you can use to adapt to your situation:
7 Easy Steps to a More Beautiful You 8 Ways to Retire Rich 12 Secrets of the Confident Cook 5 Ways to Get Your Children to Eat Right The “How To” Headlines
“How to” articles are some of the most successful, bookmarked, and linked content online. Many ad writers believe that you can’t write a bad “how to” headline, so the method is definitely worth giving a try and applying the method to your situation. People are looking for useful information that will make their lives easier, more successful, happier, better, and if you provide it, they will reward you by passing the information on to others. Of course, the article must fulfill the promise of showing the reader how to achieve this ease, success, happiness, etc. that is promised in the headline. But the battle is first won or lost at your headline. Readers want to know precisely what benefit they will gain, what exactly will they learn how to do better if they read your article. So be precise in writing the headline. Don’t just imply what a reader will gain, name it. Express benefits prompt action (read “click” on your article). Perhaps the most well-known “how to” headline ever written is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Before publishing his classic book of the same description, he used this headline as the title on a sales letter. What’s interesting and effective about this headline is the use of doubling up on benefits promised, i.e., if you read his book, you will first win friends and then be able to influence people as well. The subtle message to the reader is that if you achieve the first benefit the second will naturally follow along. The headline describes a “cause and effect” relationship that worked very well and went a long way for Dale Carnegie. Robert W. Bly states in his book “The Copywriter’s Handbook” that “how to” headlines offer the promise of solid information, sound advice, and solutions to problems…” There’s that “promise” again. Bly offers these examples:
How to Turn a Simple Party into a Royal Ball
How to Write Better and Faster How to Stop Smoking in 30 Days…Or Your Money Back The “Appeal to the Reader’s Self-Interest” Headlines
Knowing your audience is critical to writing a headline. For example, if you are trying to draw in a readership of the thirty-something crowd, you probably aren’t going to want to write a headline or an article touting the benefits of hip replacement therapy or the ranch-style floor plan in a retirement community. A thirty-something crowd might be drawn in by headlines that promise information about the family, buying a first home, or raising children. I’m sure you get it, so let’s just look at a few examples of this type of headline that you might use to adapt to your situation.
The Perfect Solution to a Happy Marriage The Hottest Thing in Teeth Whitening The Best Clinically Proven Acne Products Get Rid of Diaper Rash Now 10 Best Camp Grounds for Kids The “Give the Readers News” Headlines
Another attention-getting headline is to give the reader news. Headlines that provide news often begin with words like discover, new, introducing, it’s here, at last, announcing, just arrived, or the latest. Here are some examples to work from:
Introducing the Latest Line Up in Cosmetics New Cream Eliminates Cellulite in 30 Days The Latest Golf Clubs Improve Golf Game 20 Percent Announcing the Best Musical Group from Germany Here at Last – A Vacuum that Works by Itself Discover the Top 3 Writing Software Companies
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Published on Jul 24, 2012
David Ogilvy, a successful advertising man and author of “Confessions of an Advertising Man” has this to say about headlines: “The headline...