You do know that you’re in a war, right?
Yes, no screaming guns and roaring tanks are involved. But everyday, you’re part of a cut-throat competition in which the winner basks in attention from prospects, readers and visitors.
The internet – and the world in general – is a congested place that’s rattling with noise. There are 101 things groping for your prospect’s attention…
And the people who win; who actually get heard?
They know how to stand out and snag attention.
And you don’t stand a chance at earning attention (especially online), without killer headlines.
Because your headline is responsible for turning casual browsers into absorbed visitors. It helps your visitor decide to invest precious time and attention into your copy or content…or bounce.
That’s why today’s post is about crafting kick-ass headlines. We’ll dive into the how & why behind headlines that cut through the clutter and propel you ahead of your competition.
Promise A Mouthwatering Benefit
Take a look at any winning headline, and you’ll find that it always offers a solid benefit to the reader.
This is because your headline isn’t about you, your company, or your blog post. It’s about what you give to the person reading it.
Take a look at this headline below from auction.com:
It tells the reader exactly what he stands to gain. There’s no fluff, and it finishes by guaranteeing results “today”.
Now, you might think the above headline is a little too plain. But writing headlines that convert isn’t about being cute or clever. It’s about charging your headline to convey enough value to motivate your reader to click and pay attention.
Still doubtful of simple benefit-driven headlines? Then check out this case study by contentverve.com. They switched a client’s headline from “cute and clever”, to value-driven and direct, and guess what?
Their conversions jumped up by 38.46%.
Be Super Specific
Another trait all great headlines share is specificity.
They include specific numbers or statements that inject more clarity into the headline.
In fact, studies have shown that headlines with numbers generate 73% more social shares and engagement.
Here’s an example from a well-received post I wrote on Problogger. Notice how it uses numbers and specifically states how the reader will benefit.
Here’s another example from Neil Patel:
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can revive your headlines.
Great headlines don’t show too much. They tickle the reader’s curiosity and make him want to click.
This is because activities or information that is incomplete creates mental tension. And that state of tension is only relieved when the brain feels that things are complete or whole. This is called the Zeigarnik effect.
This Copyblogger post below has an awesome curiosity-driven headline:
You immediately start to question: “Why would a regular Copyblogger contributor say he hates copyblogger?”
But it’s too late by then, you’ve already clicked the headline to find out why.
Headline Formulas That Kick-Ass
We’ve looked at the building blocks of quality headlines. We know their basic structure.
Now let’s look at boosting headline stopping power with proven formulas.
1. It Is Possible to + [Inspirational Goal or Result] I Want To Show You How
Before formula: “How to earn over $1000/month working part-time”
After formula: “It is possible to earn over $1000/month with part-time hours. I want to show you how”
This headline works best when people doubt they can achieve a desirable goal. In the example above, this headline confronts the doubt many freelance bloggers have about earning a decent hourly rate.
2. [Get/Download] + [Product/Service] and Beat Your Competition
Before formula: Our backlink analysis will help you get better Google rankings
After formula: Get a free backlink analysis and find out how to beat your competition on Google
Would you like to beat your competition?
Of course you would. And that’s what this type of headline focuses on.
This competitive headline usually converts better when something has a tangible value that prospects fear losing. Like, traffic, money and rankings etc.
3. [Do Something] + Like [Word Class Example]
Before formula: How to create cool infographics
After formula: How to create wildly popular infographics like Kissmetrics
Using this headline formula is a great way to piggybank of popular brands. And it works well with posts that analyze and study recognized businesses/people.
4.[Promise] in [Time Period] + [Guarantee]
Before formla: Get healthier looking skin
After formula: Get healthier looking skin in 30 days or your money back
When promised results, people tend to get wary. This headline formula douses their suspicions by backing up your promise with a solid guarantee.
5. Here’s a Quick Way To [Fix Problem]
Before formula: How to beat writer’s block
After formula: Here’s a quick way to eliminate writer’s block
Everyone likes to get things done quickly. And a cure always sells better than prevention. Combine those two facts together, and you have a powerful headline.
6. [Number or trigger word] + [Adjective] + [Keyword] + [Promise]
Before formula: How to be more creative
After formula: 12 effortless ways to soar your creativity within 24 hours
Ever wrote a headline and thought it’s too “meh”? If so, this formula can help inject more “oomph” into it.
It’s easy to slip into the habit of thinking high-converting headlines take extreme levels of creativity.
But they don’t.
When you understand the nuts-and-bolts behind winning headlines; how they are created; and how to apply them to your product/service/content; you won’t need to lean heavily on creativity…because you know the science.
In the beginning of the article we touched on the building blocks of powerful headlines. What else do you consider an absolute must for a solid headline? Tell us in the comments below.
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