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Ok, what’s the secret to writing headlines that will make people want to read your blog posts or advertising copy?
Great copywriters and bloggers seem to be able to do it effortlessly, generating loads of revenue for their businesses.
Do these writers have some magic formula that they use to draw eyes to their copy, or are they just lucky?
Don’t worry, because I’m going to show you exactly how to do it.
Because there are 8 proven headline formulas that you can use to get people to read (or at least skim) your copy.
In this post, I’m going to show you examples of these headlines that will guarantee your readers will look at the rest of your copy.
However, before I unveil these examples, a word of caution…
Know This Before You Write a Single Word…
There is one cardinal sin that you can commit in writing copy that will undermine all of your efforts.
If you write a headline and it does not fulfill the promise it offers in your body copy you, will kill any reputation you have, and people will ignore you.
Here’s a good example of a trick that was pulled on people in magazines back in the 1970’s:
Now that I have your attention, I want to
Tell you why you should buy our insurance…
That headline ran in magazines for quite some time, and of course it caught attention. But when people started reading the line below it, they ignored the copy and moved on. (I would dare say that some sexually frustrated individuals even got mad when they were tricked like that.)
The point is, once you indicate anything in your headline that promises the reader hope of a solution to their problem or desire, you better fulfill it.
It’s just like this post. If I tell you that I’m going to show you headline formulas that will get readers to look at your writing, then by golly, that’s what you’re going to get.
As a matter of fact, here they are…
8 Proven Headline Formulas to Get Eyes on Your Copy
The main thing to remember is that you are not trying to reinvent the wheel when writing headlines.
That work has already been done for you by copywriters that have tons of experience and have PROVEN results under their belts.
So, don’t think you have to be creative and come up with a headline that is totally new. Whatever you write, I can almost guarantee that something very similar has already been written.
So relax. All you have to do is use these formulas and modify them for your copy.
- Direct Headlines
These are headlines that you usually see on store signs, or on coupons.
Christmas Sale – 50% Off!!!
$5 Off Your Next Office Supply Purchase at Office Max
24” 1 Topper World’s Largest Pizza – Feed the Whole Family $19.99!
These are pretty simple yet effective headlines that simply tell the reader exactly what they need to know. No fuss, no muss.
- Indirect Headlines
This Headline is used to stimulate curiosity. People read the headline and then jump into the copy to find out what it is all about.
Actually, these are used a lot on Internet advertisements.
Here’s a good example of one:
Scale Your SEO Reporting
If you were into Search Engine Optimization, you’d wonder, “How am I going to do that?” and then you would read on to find out.
Here’s an indirect headline from a magazine ad the ESSO gas stations used in magazine ads:
“Put a Tiger in Your Tank”
As a matter of fact, that headline worked so well, it became that chain of gas stations motto which was aired on TV constantly.’
The One Internet Business Stock You Must Own Now!
In all of these instances you will need to read the copy to get the gist of what the headline is all about.
- How-to Headlines
How-to headlines are huge in marketing and blogging. There are probably millions of headlines in magazines, blog posts, and advertising copy to verify this fact.
The reason they are used so much?
They are extremely successful! They offer the reader a promise of information that addresses their need or concern. Here are some headlines directly off of popular magazine covers:
How to make a million on $ocial Media!
How to Build a Beach Body
How to Have the Best Summer Ever!
How to Reach $1 Million!
How to Get the Life You Really Want
Oprah has one of the most popular magazines in history. Here’s just a few of her covers that have “How-to” headlines on them.
- Question Headlines
This is a headline that basically answers a question that the reader wants to have answered. The concept isn’t hard to understand, but it is a very powerful way to gain the reader’s interest. Once again, if your copy is addressing a crowd with a specific need, your headline will hit the mark.
Here’s a variation of a question headline seen in woman’s magazines and TV ads over and over again:
Who Wants Better Looking Skin in 30 Days or Less!
Here’s a few others that are very powerful:
How Does the Man that Drives the Snowplow, Drive to the Snowplow?
(That one was from a Volkswagen Beetle advertisement.)
Injured? I’ve Been There!
Here’s one that I saw on the Internet recently…
Isn’t it worth $19/mo to dominate social? Upgrade now!
- Reason Why Headlines
Of course, you don’t have to use the words “reason why” in these types of headlines.
Usually if you are writing copy that explains your product or service in a sequence-like fashion, you may want to use this type.
This headline works well with numbers included in it:
11 Secrets I Wasn’t Taught in School
That Have Put Millions in My Bank Account
29 Tips from Labs for Harder Abs
Why is this Woman Smiling?
I saw this one on the cover of one of the sensationalistic newspapers called “The Sun”. (A National Enquirer type of magazine.)
Why Should I Do the Hard S**t?
Headlines like that are almost irresistible to read ─ and even if you aren’t interested in the subject matter, you might be compelled to open it up and read it.
- Testimonial Headlines
These are great headlines because they offer solid proof that the product or service works by using words from past customers.
Here’s a good example for one:
Find out why 80% of Patients Cancelled Their Therapy
After Using Inversion Therapy!
Here’s an excellent testimonial ad for RosettaStone by Robert Morrow:
Trust Medifast – The Program Doctors Recommend!
Usually, the quote of the individual is in quotation marks, which usually shows the reader that the headline was an actual quote.
Here’s a good one taken from a website:
“I believe my students say it best, and here are their results…”
Underneath that statement there was a picture of the Internet guru with charts and graphs of his student’s results.
When using a testimonial headline, try to use the customers own words. You don’t want to add any sensationalism to it because you want it to sound like an actual quote.
- Command Headlines
Simply, these headlines tell readers what to do. Here are the examples:
“Write now! How To Write That Novel Today!”
“Start Accepting Credit Cards Today!”
“Put a Tiger in Your Tank”
“Don’t Let Your Taxes Break You!”
“Save a 10 Hour Teardown with a 5 Minute Checkup”
Usually, the first word in a command headline is a verb which directs action to the reader.
- News Headlines
Sometimes businesses will use news about their products or service in a headline if they know it will work. Here’s an excellent example of a very effective headline by the search engine – Bing!
“Google Hit With Record $22.5 Million Penalty for Improperly Tracking Safari Users!”
Man, talk about kicking your competitor where it hurts the most!
That’s a very powerful and true news headline that hits to the core of a competitor while boosting your reader’s curiosity.
Of course, you probably won’t use a news headline to trash your competitor like that very often, but it was a great example of a news-like headline.
Here’s a few others that are great examples:
Introducing Ford’s New Courier!
Hear With Wisdom! (Audiphone ad.)
Voted Best Dressed Woman of the Year!
1 in 4 Women Will Be Beaten By Husbands
So if there is something new or sensational about your product or service, try to think of a way to make it work in a news headline; it has been a proven formula that has been proven to work.
Those are the eight different headline types that you can use.
Actually, just about every copywriting book or site there is has had them listed, but I wanted to update them with some of the latest headlines I found on the Internet.
Here’s Some Heaping, Hunks of Templates You Can Use
If you are writing copy or learning how to write blog headlines, you should make it a common practice to swipe ideas as often as you can. Most of the great copywriters use swipe files like this so that they can draw inspiration and ideas from.
Here are a batch of headline swipes to help you get started. I’ve left the key words out so you can edit and use your own words. Please feel free to copy and paste into your own word processor.
Is (Are) Your _______________ Costing You More ____________ Than it (They) Should?
What Do ___________ Have That ___________ Often Don’t?
Plan a Perfect ______ (Wedding, Date, Life, etc.)
52 (Any Number) _____ Marketing Tips (or Whatever).
The Secret of Getting ________ (Results)
Finally a _________ (Product, Service) as Good as Its ___________ (Picture, Brochure, Commercial)
A Little Mistake That Cost ___________ (Lawyers, Realtors, Etc.) A Year
Introducing the New _____________ (Product)
Advice to… __________ (prospects) who want _________ (results)
New Free Special Report Reveals Little Known Strategy Millionaires Use to Keep _______ (Money, Assets, etc.) in their ___________ (Accounts, Homes, etc.)
Do you suffer from _________ (problem) at _____________ (occasion)?
How to ____ (Get Smarter, Look Prettier) in _________ Minutes! (or Hours, or Days, etc.)
Is Your ___________ (Cost Of Living, Electric Bill, Internet Service) Too High?
_________ (Number) Reasons Why You Should Buy __________ Right Now!
Who Ever Heard Of __________ (Beauty Queens, Nerds, Whoever) Having _________ (Beautiful Skin, Big Bank Account) Without __________ (Objections).
How I Improved ____________ (Problem) Without ________ (Objection) In Just__________! (Time)
You Can Make Big Money in ___________ Right Now!
The Greatest _____________ (Mistake, Discovery, etc.) Ever Made!
The One _________ (Product) You Must Own Now. Hint: It’s NOT What You Think!
Instant _____________ While You Wait!
Discover the ______ (Benefits) You Get With ________ (Results).
Proven: The Most Effective Way To Get __________ (Results).
Finding Your Perfect _______ (Mate, Car, Career, etc.)
Do You Have Any of These _______________ (Spiritual, Financial, Health, etc.)Problems?
How A (Something Bad) Resulted In ________ (Results) and ________ (Benefits)
How to Solve Your _____________Problems at Half the Cost of Regular __________.
Do You Suffer From ___________?
Get ____ (Skinny, Richer, etc.) Now!
________ (Number) Ways to _____ (Have Fun, Invest, Write Stories, etc.) and Profit!
Ways to ____ (Activity) on a Budget!
How a new _________ (product, Idea, Business, etc.) solved my ________ (Problem) in just ______ Days (Weeks, Or Whatever Units of Time)
Which type of ____________ are you? Is it stopping you from getting ___________?
Finding Your Perfect _______
What ____ Really Want
Top 10 Tips For Hassle Free ______ (Life, Job Search, etc.)
Does Your _________ (Foot Odor, Acne, Etc.) Ever Embarrass You?
To People Who Want _________ But Don’t Know Where To Start
How Much Is ____________ (Problem) Really Costing You?
Have a ____ You Can Be Proud Of
The Right Way To Solve __________(Problem)
(Hundreds, Thousands, Millions, etc.) of __________ (Car Owners, Dentists, Etc.) Now Have __________ (Results) Will You Join Them?
For The ____________ (Individual) Who Has Less _________ Than He / She Wants
Suppose this happened to your _____________. Would you survive?
Are Other ____________ (Problems) Secretly Overtaking You?
10 (Number) Proven Ways to Get _________ (Results) And ________ (Benefits)
Are you ready to have ________ (results) in just _________(amount of time)?
Get Your Hands On This System That Took One _______________ (Entrepreneur, Karate Novice, Etc.) From ___________ (Beginner, Learner, Etc.) To __________ (Expert, Millionaire, Etc.) In Just _______.(Time)
How I got _________ by making this unusual mistake.
The Secret of Getting the Best Price for Your _______
5 Ways to Boost Your ____ Without Spending More _____
5 Ways to _____ and Profit!
Why some _________ (people, writers, entrepreneurs, etc.) always have (or get) _____________
You Can Laugh About __________ (Being Poor, Ignorant, Foot Odor) If You Follow This Simple Plan
Five common ____________ faced by __________which one do you want to solve?
What _____________ (industry experts) do when faced with ___________.
How to Find the Best _____ Deals on the Web
Top Gadgets for _____
___________ Experts Prove That You Can Have _________ (Results) And With This New _________ ! (Product)
Why It’s Not Your Fault You Have __________. And How To Make It Disappear In Just ___________ (Time)
How to Look and Act ________
Now You Can Have Get More and Better ____ With Less Effort
Thousands Of ____________ (Lawyers, Parents, Etc.) Can Have _________ (Depression, Acne, Etc.) But Never Realize It. Don’t Let It Be You.
Why ____________ Are Raving About This ______________. ___________(Results) Is Just One Of The ______ (Reasons)
To ____________ who want _________ ( by [time]
This new ___________ will get you ________ galore
It’s not right that you don’t have _________ when so many ____________don’t
Why Do Some _____________ (People, Golfers, Parents, Etc.) Have More _________ (Benefits) Than Others? The Answer Might Surprise You!
10 Money/Time Saving Tips for ______
Are _____ Worth the Money?
Everything You Need to Know About Getting Cheaper _____
Best ____ For Under ________ (Price)
Unusual but Achievable ____
21 Audacious and Creative _____ Ideas
Who Else Wants to ____?
Now You Can ____ for Free!
How to Get _____ in Half the Time
10 Stars and their ____
_____ Life Styles of the Rich and Famous
______ like a Movie Star
Do You Have These Symptoms Of ___________?
Guaranteed to __________ (Results) Without ____________ (Wasting Time, Losing Money, Etc.)
Unlock ___________ (Internet Guru’s Name, Money Mogul’s Name, etc.) Secrets!
9 Ways You Can ____ Better Than You Deserve
7 Signs You Are/Can _______
For Just __________ (A Few Dollars, 5 Cents) A Day You Can Have _______ And ______ In No Time!
The Secrets Of __________ (Gurus, Beauty Queens) That Always Get __________. (Results)
What The ____________ Experts Don’t Want You To Know About Solving __________ (Problem)
Learning to write headlines takes a lot of practice, but once you get into the habit of writing a lot of them you will get a feel for how they should be written.
A good idea is to set a number of headlines you will write for a blog post, article or sales copy. Some writers set theirs for 50 per project, while others will do more depending on the project that needs to be written.
Some sales copywriters will write hundreds until they settle on a few they will use for split testing.
I hope this article has given you some ideas and inspiration for writing your own.
Please Comment Below
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