5 Easy Ways to Write a Great Headline
David Ogilvy, widely considered the father of modern advertising, once said,
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your [marketing] dollar.”
Obviously, headlines are important.
Without a good headline, customers may never become interested enough to learn more about your product or service. And yet, many companies overlook them when writing marketing copy, blog posts or other forms of advertising.
Writing a successful headline is deceptively difficult. It should speak (directly or indirectly) to the reader, pique curiosity, and address a problem or promise a benefit without giving the whole thing away. To top it off, it must do all these things in only a few words.
Is it any wonder that professional copywriters spend so much time perfecting this aspect of their craft?
Presumably, though, you don’t have years to invest in the art of writing a headline. So here are five quick and proven hacks to help get you started.
1. How to…
This headline works so well because people love to learn how to do new things. And even if we already know how to do something, we want to find out if there’s a better way of doing it. This type of headline may also help you in search engines because those two words are how individuals often begin their searches.
2. The secret to…
It’s true. These headlines seem to be everywhere. But that’s because they work! The fact is, it’s human nature to want to be in on a secret, and get the inside scoop that no one else knows.
3. Numbered lists
There’s a reason that list sites like Buzzfeed are so popular. Numbered lists are easy to read and easy to consume. They practically guarantee we won’t have to spend a lot of time wading through an article to find out what we need or want to know.
4. Do you make these mistakes?
As humans, most of us hate to make mistakes, and we certainly want to learn how we can avoid making them in the first place. So when we see a headline like this, it can be almost impossible to resist finding out if we’re doing something wrong and if so, how to fix it.
5. The surprising way to…
This is another one of those headlines that seems to be used a lot because it’s so effective. Most of us enjoy being surprised (in a good way). For instance, we hate logging on to Facebook and seeing a spoiler posted about our favorite TV show or a movie we were looking forward to seeing. So just the promise of a surprise is often enough to get a reader to click through.
While this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to headline writing, try one of these out the next time you get ready to publish a blog post or send out an email. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results!