8 cheats you can use to create irresistible headlines

Headlines are the first thing people see. It's what will make them open your email or read your content – or not.

Because it's not your readers job to work out what you are trying to say, you've got to instantly grab their attention.

Write your headline first, before you write your content so you focus on delivering on the promise in the headline. This can be a bit tricky – lots of people prefer to write the content first but you can start with a 'rough' version of the headline and fine tune it once you've finished the copy.

Great headlines tend to:

  • Include benefits – one per headline
  • Include key search phrases so the search engines can find it
  • Be clear – don't try and be tricky, you don't want people to guess what your content is about. You can leave a little mystery but readers want to know what they are getting
  • Build curiosity – questions are good for this
  • Be about them – "How you can earn money while you sleep", not "How I can help make money". Focus on your target audiences needs, fears and desires.

But writing headlines that do all that can be hard.

So we've made it easy for you!

Here is a list of very effective headlines types. You can save yourself hours of effort by deciding which type of headline you are going to use before you write it.

1. Feel the fear – headlines that threaten:

  • Your 13 year old neighbour just stole your identity to buy alcohol
  • 9 Lies internet marketers will tell you
  • The shocking truth about what Crox shoes do to your social credibility
  • 5 warning signs your teenager is high on drugs at the dinner table
  • Is watching too much TV making you dumb

2. Sell the benefit of a simpler, easier life:

  • 11 ways to make room in your closet for more clothes and shoes
  • 10 short cuts to turn housekeeping hell into home maker heaven
  • How to take charge of your out of control finances without getting a second job
  • Be ready for your beach holiday as soon as you step off the plane
  • Spend more time in your garden without getting your hands dirty

3. Ride on the coat tails of a famous person or brand

  • What McDonalds can teach us about social media fails
  • How to copy Lady Gaga's strategy for world domination
  • The golfers guide to marital harmony – what I learnt from Tiger Woods

4. Simple How To's

  • How to dominate Google search results
  • How to beat your brother at backgammon
  • How to make money while you sleep
  • How to lose 10 kilos in 5 weeks without dieting
  • How smart home owners save thousands on their mortgage
  • How to win friends and influence people

5. Double barrelled benefit statements.

Link one benefit to another implies doing or getting the first will get you the second:

  • How to get a better job and make more money
  • How to work less but have more job satisfaction
  • Improve your eating habits for more energy and lose that belly fat

6. Numbered lists

  • 5 tips to get your website working better
  • 7 things you should know about internet dating
  • 5 secrets every website owner should know
  • 50 ways to beat the Master Chefs at their own game

7. Ask a question

Question type headlines can be used in combination with benefit statements or an appeal to common concerns. fears or emotions

  • How would you like to be paid to lose weight
  • Who wants more fun and less stress in their lives?
  • Are you tired of working the 9 to 5 work day treadmill?
  • Which of these budgeting mistakes are you making?
  • Are you suffering these symptoms of stress?
  • Are your cleaning products killing you slowly?
  • Are you guilty of these ten social media faux-pas?

8. Include a bit of mystery

  • The secret to doubling your investment in 5 years
  • The secret to getting a second mortgage approved
  • What you don't know about stain removal that is making you sick
  • Little know ways to reduce your electricity bill

And don't forget, the purpose of a headline is to get people to read it – and then keep reading!


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Client words...

"Thanks to your seemingly simple optimisations we're seeing more new customers and 40 percent greater advertising revenue from our site."

Jeff McClintock - Synthedit