How to Write Head-Turning, Click-Worthy Headlines
If your headline doesn’t work, nothing will. An average reader spends fifteen seconds reading a website. That means your headline needs to pull in your client’s visitors and persuade them to read word after word.
With so much content online, you need to catch people’s attention and get them to click. A magnetic headline will suck readers in. The best headlines will promise a benefit, and the rest of the copy will deliver.
How important is a magnetic headline?
Some copywriters say they spend 50% of their time on the headline alone.
In the next 10 minutes, you’ll gain a firm understanding of how to craft an effective headline that turns heads and gets clicks.
You’ll be given power-selling structures, great headline examples, and online generators to check and score your copy.
Let’s get started.
The First Step to Creating Magnetic Headlines
Before you put a finger to your keyboard, ask yourself: who am I writing to and what is the goal of this post?
Who am I writing to and what is the goal of this content?
The most important headline writing rule is to understand your audience.
- Who are you trying to reach, and what is their problem?
- How will I offer to solve that problem?
The company you’re writing for should have a customer profile set up. This is the type of customer that their company is targeting.
One way to do this to create a ‘family tree’ of possible prospects, identifying their interests, or even targeting their geo-location. See how we’ve worked out a family tree for one of our clients below.
The BEST headlines are always ones that are super-targeted and niche. Pick one fruit out of the tree and focus on that one segment. Now that you’ve got a clear idea of who you’re writing for, time to flesh out your headline.
What a magnetic headline looks like
A magnetic headline should hit one or all of these points.
1. Does your headline use power words?
Look at this headline from KISS Metrics…
"3 Lazy SEO Tips to Jumpstart Customer Acquisition"
“Lazy.” That word sucks you in.
“What is so simple that I’m missing out on?” a reader will ask. "What is so simple yet effective that I can save time and still acquire customers?"
Power words are packed with emotion. Emotion drives customers to act. Emotion is another tool that we can use to connect with our readers.
Some of our favorite power words:
If you need more power words, here’s a giant list, but read on first for easy yet effective headline formulas.
2. Is your headline constructed from a proven formula?
There are tried and true headline formulas. By inserting your own keywords into the formula, you can create a winning headline.
Some examples of headline formats you should try:
- The Secret of [Topic] = The Secret of Living Healthy
- Little Known Ways to [Topic] = Little Known Ways to Cure Acne
- What Everyone Needs to Know About [Topic] = What Everyone Needs to Know About Investing
- The Lazy Person’s Guide to [Topic] = The Lazy Person’s Guide to Real Estate
- [Do Something] Like [Famous Expert] = Play Golf Like Tiger Woods
- Who Else Wants [Value] = Who Else Wants to Bring in Thousands of Dollars from Home?
- [#] Little-Known Factors That Could [Value] = 6 Little-Known Factors That Could Save Your Life
- Why [Value #1] Beats [Value #2] = Why Email Marketing Beats Social Media Marketing
- Have a [Value] You Can Be Proud Of = Have a Lawn You Can Be Proud Of
- [#] Surprising Things You Can =7 Surprising Things You Can Sell from Home
- Do You Make These [#] [Adjective] [Value] Mistakes? =Do You Make These 12 Disastrous Driving Mistakes?
- How to [Value] Without [Bad Thing] = How to Get a College Education Without Going Broke
- You can create more formulas by researching popular copy. Look at popular blogs, newsletters, and magazines.
Most top headline formats promise to solve a prospect’s problem. If you understand their problem, you can create your own formula by adding the problem, the solution, and sprinkling in some power words.
3. Is your headline highly relevant?
Let’s example this headline from PurelyB.com: “Top 5 Vegan-Friendly Spots in Singapore”
The headline targets a specific demographic looking to solve a specific problem. The targeted reader in this example is clearly a vegan who lives in or is visiting Singapore who's interested to find vegan-friendly dining spots.
Now imagine - what would a reader from this demographic type into Google?
- "top vegan-friendly restaurants singapore"?
- "best dining spots for vegans in singapore"?
- "where to find vegan food in singapore"?
Possibly all of the above. But regardless which way the searcher words his/her query, the headline clearly answers their problem.
By figuring out your ideal reader before crafting a headline, you’ll be able to hone your headline’s relevancy.
4. Short and Snappy
Does your headline roll off the tongue?
Go on and say it out loud. If your headline is clunky, readers will quit mid-sentence. If you give them a reason to click away, they’ll take it.
For headlines, the shorter the better. Your headline should follow your medium’s optimal length. A blog should be around 50-70 characters or around 6 words. For email, an optimal rate is 65 characters.
5. Does your headline make a promise or offer value?
All effective headlines should promise to help the reader.
Let’s look at an example:
The title clearly makes a promise - to increase your writing productivity - and bonus points, it adds an attention-grabbing adjective with “Write Better.”
The content is not only teaching you to write — which would be boring — but it’s showing you how to do it better.
But what if we told you there's a way to make adjectives even better?
Get specific with selling adjectives by honing in on what they actually mean, and what the benefit will be to the reader.
We re-worded a client’s website copy from “fast” and “easy” to “in 5 minutes” and “right from your phone.”
It attracted 5x more clicks and engagement for a client by changing bland adjectives to ultra-specific benefits.
See some examples:
"Best Ways to Lose Weight" = Weight Loss Gurus Reveal How They Lost Weight (element: authority)
"Learn to Type Faster" = 15-Minute Finger Exercise to Type Faster Than Ever Before (element: time-saver)
"Easy Way to Earn Money Writing" = Earn Money Writing From Home With HotCopy (element: convenience)
When making a promise, make it specific and relevant.
Don’t just bring up your reader’s problem, drive home the solution, and how they’ll feel afterward.
The value of your call can be spiced up by adding unique adjectives like “fun, free, effortless.”
6. Hype Up The Value of Your Offer
Only by doing significant research will you understand what your customer’s number one problem is. What will drive them to act? If you create a powerful offer, your solution should be concise and clear.
You’ve discovered your readers are teens and their problem is acne.
If you write “5 Simple Home Remedies to Cure Teenage Acne” as your blog title, you would likely gain clicks and readership.
While the title isn’t extremely attention-grabbing, it’s highly relevant to a demographic that's unable to afford expensive treatments and would prefer simple cures they can perform at home.
Now here’s the catch with call-to-value:
If you make a promise, you need to fulfill it.
Eyeballs on your page mean nothing unless you can deliver on your promises.
It’s not just about getting someone to click and read your headline; it’s to help them.
You’re converting readers into lifetime consumers and hopefully fans. If you’re not doing that, you need to rethink your headline, no matter how much attention it gets.
Online title generators to supercharge your headlines
You can use title generators to help craft an enticing headline. It’ll help you brainstorm. Get a bunch of possible headlines and weed them out. Or you can use an analyzer at the end, when you’ve got your list of possible headlines, to determine which one to pick. It’ll grade your headline based on factors like power and emotion.
- SeoPressor’s Blog Title Generator – This blog generator will help you organize your subject into a magnetic title structure.
- Portent’s Title Generator - If you need more ideas, plug a keyword into Portent’s title keyword generator.
- CoSchedule.com’s Headline Analyzer - After you write your headline, put it into CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to determine its usability. You might have to make a few copy tweaks after. It’s that good.
Copywriting Success Starts at the Beginning – The Headline
First impressions are everything.
In copywriting, our first impressions are headlines.
By using power words, proven formulas, and keeping your headline short, snappy, and relevant, you’ll turn heads and have readers clicking.
Don’t forget to point out the reader’s problem and how you can solve it.
After all, if they’ve read past your headline, it means they trust you.
Now that you’ve mastered the magnetic headline, you can go on to deliver your content, and get the readthrough your top-notch copy deserves.