How To Write Eye-Catching Headlines In 7 Easy Steps

Quite a while ago, when marketing was in its infancy, a writer decided to change the title of his book after it was selling for a while. Without making any other changes, the book’s sales increased to another 20%, completely mystifying the author.
Soon, he changed the titles to his other books and noticed that some of the others too, enjoyed increased sales.
Is it any wonder why you should put so much time and effort into the headline to get it right?
Mess up the headline and you’ve lost your reader, worse yet, you can lose money on all the time and effort you put into the good body copy. Doesn’t seem fair does it? Let’s see what we can do about it.
How to Make Your Headlines Work for You
1. Always use one thought
2. The weakest headline is a statement.
3. The stronger headline is a question.
4. The stronger yet is a question and a problem.
5. Even stronger is a question, a problem and a solution.
6. The strongest is a question, a problem, a solution and a specific.
7. Fast fix and sure thing: The gossip magazines
The Power of One
This one’s easy: use only one thought in your headline. Two or more thoughts dilute the headline, confuse the reader, and lessen the impact:
Example: “Is Your Blog Bogging Down Trying to Find an Audience Because Your Headlines Are So Lackluster?”
1. Yuk, your blog is struggling for an audience
2. You don’t know how to write headlines
Simplify the confusion. Try this one thought: “Is Your Blog Struggling to Find an Audience?”
The Statement Headline
You see a lot of statement headlines, and they do work, but they don’t have the punch or engage as much neural activity as questions do.
Example: “Writing a Blog Is Easy”
The Question Headline
Now we’re getting there. You want to get somebody’s attention, ask them a question. It always works. Use the old high school journalism approach, ask who, what, why, when and how.
Example: “Why Are Blogs Important?”
CONSIDER THIS: The headline is 80% (Starch Inc.): “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 eighty cents out of your dollar.” -David Ogilvy
The Question and Problem Headline
If you really want to wind them up, ask them about their problems.
Example: “Is Your Blog Failing You?”
The Question, Problem and Solution Headline
This one not only winds them up, it arouses their curiosity once you promise or even hint at a solution. It’s the best of both worlds. They’ll love you before they even hit the first 50 words of your copy. Example: “How to Write Blogs that Build Lists”
The Question, Problem, Solution and Specific Headline
Finally, the Cadillac of headlines, this, the crown jewel, guaranteed to get his neurons exploding; a stimulating problem presented; problem solved; and now there’s a sense of urgency added to the whole thing. That’s because he’s got to do it–whatever it is–in the headline now, or in 4 easy steps, or God forbid, never. Example: “How to Write Blogs that Build Lists in 3 Simple Steps”
Fast Fix and Sure Thing
Okay, I saved the best for last-the easiest, anyway-that works like a charm and generates good headlines. Google one of the gossip rags and substitute their heads. Don’t underestimate this strategy, the writers are good, they’re the true masters of the headline. My favorite is the National Enquirer. Example: “How Safe Is Your Food?”, to “How Good Is Your Blog?” Or, “How to Spot a Drunken Driver,” add a specific to make it, “Three Ways to Spot a Drunken Driver,” to “Three Easy Corrections You Can Make to Improve Your Blog.”
CONSIDER THIS: “The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.”–David Ogilvy
SUMMARY: Start with the subject and use one thought. The total word count doesn’t matter, but try and keep it short. Work your way up starting with the weakest, the statement headline, then use the question headline and so on to problems, solutions, and finally specifics. If you get stuck or want a reliable shortcut, copy/paste one of the many headlines out of the gossip rags and alter it to suit your target.
Next Step: Now it’s your turn. What is it you sell? Used cars? Let’s start with the questions:
“How to buy a used-car that gets noticed…”
“Why do pre-owned cars…”
Keep going, you’re getting it…see you next time.

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