How To Make Your Headlines Pop
Your headline can be responsible for 80 to 90 percent of your site’s conversion. Any ad copy on your site, therefore, should start with a killer headline. Writing headlines isn’t hard, but it’s something that a lot of bloggers don’t do well. Headlines that don’t entice readers to click to the permalink page will never result in a sale, further reading, or a newsletter sign up.
Take a Cue From Popular Tabloid Magazines
Magazines like the National Enquirer and Globe have good headlines. No one admits to reading these publications, but they sell out on the news stands every week. There’s a good reason for that: people are captivated by the headlines. Cosmopolitan is another example of a niche magazine that is sold primarily on the strength of its headlines. Pick up a copy every week and study all of the headlines. Write down what keeps appearing every week. You might be surprised to see some headlines rerun every week with only slight differences in the ad copy. Those headlines are obviously ones that work. Take those, adopt them to your niche, and you’ve got yourself a headline that will pop.
Solve a Problem
Some of the best headlines ever written solve problems (or hint at a solution). For example: “How to lose 10 pounds over the weekend” solves an obvious problem. Other headlines like “Get a loan within 3 days without a credit check” solve yet another problem. These types of headlines work well when you’re promoting a product or service (or non-promotional content that leads into promotional content).
Such headlines often end up on Google’s Adsense ad network, in classified ads across the country, or as headlines for direct mail pieces. On websites, these types of headlines can end up boosting conversions for your product or service. If search engines index your site, your headline might appear in organic search results.
Build a Swipe File
Swipe files are used by most successful copywriters. A swipe file is a collection of winning headlines that have been used in the past. The idea behind a swipe file is that a successful headline can be used as inspiration for a new headline. Many marketers borrow successful headlines and rerun them in their own niche. For example, “10 killer ways to get a promotion” might have been an excellent headline in one niche, but could be transposed to the health and fitness niche as “10 killer ways to get the abs you deserve.”
Build your swipe file by collecting sample headlines from tabloids, direct mail campaigns that you keep getting in the mail, direct response ads you keep seeing on the Internet, headlines that you see running over and over on extremely successful and popular blogs in your niche. Study headlines run by Gary Bencivenga, Gary Halbert, John Carlton, Dan Kennedy, and Perry Marshall. All of these marketers have a proven track record and have run many successful ad campaigns.
Say Something Audacious
Marketers are often known for saying something outrageous, but many of them can’t back up their claims. Be audacious, but tell the truth in your headline. That’s a sure-fire way to increase click-throughs and conversions. Instead of writing “How to land your next job without begging” you could write “The one sentence you can say to any employer that will guarantee you a job in any market.” Alternatively, you could write “5 things you can do that will force any employer to hire you.” If you can deliver on your headline, and make it audacious, then you’ll win readers.
Even the best copywriters get writer’s block. Usually, this is the result of thinking too much about how to sell and not about offering value to your readers. When you’re stuck for a headline, stop and take a break. Go for a walk. Clear your head. Playing video games, watching a movie, or doing something that inspires you can help. Sometimes, doing things that frustrate you can help in the headline-writing process. What you want to do is elicit some kind of strong emotional reaction to something that your market would care about, and bring that emotion out in headline form.
Guest post contributed by Peter Nevis on behalf of Orange Line SEO. Peter contributes to various blogs, he’s a marketing expert and enjoys writing articles about SEO & online marketing strategies.