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Copywriting 101: 9 Quick Tips for Powerful Headlines

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When you set out to write content that attracts like a magnet, you should start with the headline. Copywriting experts agree that the headline is the most crucial task of writing an effective copy.

Headlines have one simple goal: to attract the readers’ attention. Without a good headline, the copy is as dead as last year’s turkey. Headlines are that important.

Headline writing is one of the oldest persuasive tools that is still in use today, but it’s often taken for granted by novice online marketers. In the world of online marketing, the headline could make or break your business — just as it would in the off-line world, where the profitability of magazines, newspapers, and ads depends on cleverly crafted headlines.

While it’s a fact that headline writing might spell the difference between going bankrupt and growing profitable, some online marketers tend to shy away from trying to master this very important skill. They are either intimidated by the fact that great copy headlines are crafted only by marketers highly skilled in human relations, or they simply assume they can get away with mediocre headlines.

The truth is that learning how to write great headlines should be a top priority for marketers who are looking to gain massive traffic and conversion.

With a great headline, your content will attract more attention. More importantly, it will help to draw readers into your content and could open the door to creating businesses for you.

Are you a novice copywriter struggling to learn the art of headline writing? Whether you are a blogger looking to attract massive readership or a video marketer hoping to draw a sizable number of eyeballs for your videos, here are some tips on writing effective headlines you can use.

Make an offer immediately
Right away, your headline should make an offer. Offers are irresistible, and if it’s the first thing readers see in your headline, they’ll read on. The headline “Free $50 Credit When You Sign Up Today” will probably make your readers want to read on and find out “what’s in it for me?” or “what’s the catch?”

If you are appealing to the right audience, who happen to be looking for exactly what you’re offering in your headline, chances are they’ll read right through to checkout.

Convey a sense of urgency
Some of the most powerful headlines are those that are time-bound. You’ll get people to respond more readily when you convey a sense of urgency. Headlines such as “Only For The Month Of November…” will have readers scrambling to learn more about your offer.

However, you should be careful when using this type of headline. If you say that an offer is good only for a month, make sure this is indeed the case, unless you have a very good reason to extend it. Otherwise, you run the risk of ruining your reputation because you tried to dupe people into buying your product or idea.

Remember KISS — Keep it Simple, Stupid
People love simplicity and brevity, because long sentences and big words tend to . . .  well, ain’t nobody got time for that. The rule of thumb for simplicity is to use words that even a 10- or 11-year old can understand.

Lean toward writing short headlines and avoid fluff. Long headlines tend to dilute the point you are trying to drive home. Keep in mind the scanners and skimmers. These are people who want to get the point in a single brief glance.

Use power words
Use common power words to appeal to emotions. Words such as guaranteed, astonishing, revealed, mind-blowing, and boost are examples of words that plumb the emotions better than many others.

Take the word “revealed.” It implies that what you are about to show your readers is a heavily-guarded secret that only a few people know, but you’re about to let out into the open.

Be very specific
There’s power in precision. Specificity is one of the most important elements of a great headline that captures people’s attention like a magnet. Instead of saying Lose Several Pounds In A Few Weeks, give your readers solid figures. Consider the following headline:

Lose 5 Pounds In Just 2 Weeks!

Statistically, specific headlines guarantee more opened emails and closed sales than headlines that try to get by with vague promises.

Try not to be overly humorous
Injecting humor into your headline is fine, but don’t push too hard. Not all people will get the same jokes. If you’re at all unsure of the effect an idea will have, it’s best to stay away from it — instead of trying to pull it off, only to have it backfire on you.

Use numbers
Using numbers creates a sense of curiosity among readers. It also sets their expectations properly. In addition, numbers make your headline easier to read and look more impressive.

Consider using “6 Ways to Lose Fat Fast” as opposed to the vague alternative “Great Ways to Lose Fat Fast.”

Help readers understand they won’t have to give up anything
Going back to the previous example, “6 Ways to Lose Fat Fast,” you can make this headline more powerful by including a phrase that lets your readers know they won’t have to lose anything else (other than body fat).

People just love convenience. We tend to want to stay within our comfort zones and avoid doing a little extra for something we like. That’s why phrases like Without Spending Time At The Gym or Without The Painful Diets will make your headlines more powerful and magnetic. Consider the combined example below:

6 Ways to Lose Fat Fast Without Spending Time At The Gym

Doesn’t that appeal more to the lazy guy in us all?

Test and re-write
Some of the best headlines have been tested and rewritten not just twice, but more than a dozen times. The most veteran copywriters may take the trouble to devise several hundred versions of a single headline to make sure they get it right.

Conclusion
It takes a lot of practice and testing to get headline writing down. Just keep at it and you have a better shot at appealing to the right emotions with the perfect set of words. For more information on our copywriting strategies for small businesses, drop us a line and we’ll happily discuss it with you.

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Charlie Solanor

I am a Content Writer, SEO and Social Media Marketing Specialist and a full-time coffee lover.

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