The 3-Step Process Anyone Can Use to Craft Killer Headlines at Will
Headline writing is an art form. And some copywriters are masters of the art – spewing pure genius over every headline they create.
But here's a little secret about headlines...
Anyone can write great ones – whether she be a blogger, content marketer, social media manager, or the like.
Yes, headline writing is an art, but it resembles a paint-by-numbers painting more than a Picasso-inspired abstract masterpiece on canvas.
You need no prior knowledge to write killer headlines. You only need to know the process.
Today, you're going to learn that process.
Step 1: Create content worth reading.
This may surprise you, but great headlines begin with great content. If your content isn't high quality, unique, and engaging to your readers, your headline is naturally going to suffer. That's because the headline is a direct reflection of its parent content.
If your content is dull or lacks direction or doesn't have a clear point, your headline will naturally follow suit, no matter the amount of time you spend on it. Write quality content and you'll instantly have an advantage when it comes to crafting your headline.
Step 2: Use specific numbers in your headline.
Headlines that contain numbers have been found to generate 73% more social shares and engagement than headlines that don't.
The reason for this phenomenon is due to our natural attraction to numbers – especially odd ones. One study by the Content Marketing Institute shows that humans believe odd numbers more than even numbers, resulting in a 20% higher click-through rate.
Step 3: Make a specific promise to the reader.
Headlines that aren't clear don't get clicked. For example, would you read an article with this headline, "7 Types of Bread?" Not very engaging, is it? There's no promise, no specificity (besides the number) and no energy or excitement.
The reader has no idea what they're going to learn from the article, and they're not intrigued enough to click through and find out. They need a compelling promise – a headline that tells them exactly what they're going to get (in an interesting way).
They don't care about "7 Types of Bread," but they will care about "7 Types of Gluten-Free Bread That Will Help You Shed 17 Pounds in 2 Weeks."
Step 4: Utilize the "Four U's" of copywriting.
The final (and most potent) step of writing attention-grabbing headlines is to follow American Writers & Artists' Four U's approach:
Make the headline useful. The headline needs to clearly convey the usefulness of the content that follows. What does a useful headline mean? It's a headline that conveys helpfulness, practicality, benefits, advantages, and the like.
Make it unique. The headline needs to separate itself from the crowd. It needs to be something fresh and exciting and different.
Create a sense of urgency. The headline needs to instill this fear that the reader is going to miss out on something big if they don't read/watch/listen to the content right then and there.
Make the headline ultra-specific. We touched on this briefly in Step 3. But it warrants repeating – it's that important. There should be no single doubt as to what your content is about. Never confuse your readers with your headline. Always be clear and concise.
While you won't be able to use all of the Four U's with every headline you create, it's often good practice to use as many as possible. As the saying goes, "The more the merrier."
Now, go create some killer headlines!
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