Do you have a blog? If so, you need good titles for your posts or articles. Without a well-written title, your carefully crafted and masterfully written content won’t get the attention it deserves. The problem is that there’s just too much good stuff out there these days.
SMH SMH SMH…… I know this!
Is that you, have you heard of this so many times? I’ll tell you something that you might not have heard of before:
NO ONE IS GOOD AT WRITING HEADLINES!
Well, okay, I’ll be humble and say… “Almost” no one!
I’m sorry but unless you are a copywriter with years of experience, your headlines are likely going to suck or at least they won’t be great.
Then what is the secret that copywriters who write mindblowing headlines know? I’ll let you in, it is…
I hate being vague, so I won’t drop you there. Your headlines will suck but they WILL get better. All you need is to keep doing it.
How do you practice?
- Observe what the others are doing
- Find Your Hook
- Write some headlines
- Test your headlines
- Do it all again
Ok, what?!? Are you ready to better your headlines, I’ll explain these in detail below!
BTW if you are still not convinced about the importance of headlines, I will take it upon me to convince you! But if you are a smart blogger and you already know why then feel free to skip the next section!
Why you should spend time crafting kickass headlines:
Setting up a website or blog has become incredibly easy and inexpensive over the past decade or so. This means there’s a lot more competition out there. There are a lot more people writing, sharing, and marketing blog posts all across the internet!
According to Copyblogger 80% of your readers don’t go past the headline!
What you need is an edge. You need a way to grab the attention of all those potential readers. You need something that pulls them in and makes them want to click through to your blog post and read it. Killer blog post titles will give you that edge. It makes you stand apart and it can get you the traffic your online business needs.
An effective blog post title is a title that grabs the attention of the right type of person, the one who’s looking for exactly what you have to share and offer. Anyone can write attention-grabbing headlines that will make anyone click through.
I’m sure you’ve seen them used as click bait on social media in past months. The headlines are amazing… but there are two big problems.
- The first is that the headline is much more interesting and well written than the content.
- The second is that while we click because we’re nosy, the information on the actual blog post isn’t something we were looking for.
As a result, we’re not actually interested in anything else on that page or any products featured on it. Instead, we feel let down and disappointed. That’s not how you want your readers to feel!
Instead of attracting anyone with flashy, gossipy headlines, you want to write on that speaks directly to your crowd. You want to make a promise of what they’ll find in the blog post and then deliver on that promise. Yes, you want to arouse their curiosity, but not at the price of deceiving them.
How to IMPROVE your headlines to make your readers click that damn link immediately:
1. Take a look at your favorite blogs, other marketers, ads and billboards even:
Take a look at some of your favorite blogs. What headlines catch your attention in a good way? Emulate those types of headlines. Find other quality blogs and websites that cater to the same niche. Get a feel for their headlines and then create something similar.
Don’t copy their titles, instead use them as inspiration and to get a feel for the types of headlines your audience may respond to. Test it out and keep trying until you find a style that works well for you, your niche, and your audience.
We are surrounded by marketing materials and advertising messages. While that can get annoying at times, it has one big advantage for us business owners. There are great examples of copywriting and killer headlines in particular all around us. You just have to start looking for them.
There are headlines on the news sites we frequent, the magazines on our coffee table (or the grocery checkout line), the newspaper, billboards, ads on our favorite websites and TV commercials to name a few. When you start looking for them, you’ll find them on billboards lining the interstate, on the bus driving down the road, and in the latest app you’re using. Advertising and content marketing, and with it great headlines are all around us.
Check out these trending headlines from Buzzfeed, do you see a pattern?
A lot of these headlines are crafted by big advertising agencies with experienced copywriters. They’ve been polished and tested. They are the best of the best when it comes to headlines. This means that by simply keeping your eyes open and being aware of this phenomenon, you can get a great education as a copywriter, without spending a penny. All you have to do is pay attention.
Think of it like a marketer’s game of “I Spy”. Once you start to look for them, great headlines really are all around you. Simply paying attention and noticing them will help you improve your own copywriting, but you can do even better. Whenever you see a really good headline, capture it. Snap a quick picture with your phone, or write it down. When you get home, add it to your headline swipe file. This can be a digital file or a simple notebook of ideas.
Go through this list of great headline examples regularly and see if you can figure out what makes it such a great one. Maybe it’s clever hook or a creative turn of phrase. Then see how you could use a similar headline in your own business. Rewrite it and rework it for your own purposes.
Use the headline if you can, or write them just for practice. Either way, you will become a better copywriter.
- Go to blogs you visit often and see their headlines, note down 5 headlines you like.
- Check if you find any patterns.
- Next time a post makes you curious, not it down.
2. Find your hook:
Have you heard of the term hook when it comes to copywriting and crafting headlines? The hook is an idea or a story that pulls you in and makes you want to start reading or learn more. It’s the hook that’s often used in the headline and the first part of a sales letter for example, that gets your readers’ attention.
For plenty of examples of over the top hooks that illustrate what exactly this concept is about, look no further than your favorite tabloid. The headlines and pictures on the cover are hooks. They hint (or yell) at the latest big celebrity gossip or government cover-up. “Inside Tom’s House Of Horrors” combined with an image of Tom Cruise yelling is a strong hook. It grabs your attention and makes you curious to find out what exactly is going on at his house.
While this is a strong hook and a powerful image or story, you have to be careful with hooks. You want to make sure that you can fulfill the promise you’re making or implying with the hook. Tabloids don’t always make that happen, so don’t stick to the covers of National Enquirer as your only examples of hooks and powerful headlines. That being said, I think it illustrates what exactly a hook is very well.
How you translate this “hook” idea into your own business depends on what you do, what your business is about, and who your target audience is. Before we move into creating your own hook, I want to make it clear that you can have a multitude of hooks out there. You may use one for your opt-in page, a different one for the opt-in forms on your blog, and then several different ones for each sales page for your various products. They can be similar or completely different. The only thing necessary is that they resonate with your readers.
To come up with your hook, think about the product or offer. What made you create it in the first place? Is there a back story? Or did a customer or subscriber have great results with it? Speaking of results, sharing them in a measurable form (lose 5 pounds in 3 days for example) can be a great hook. The hook is the beginning of a story that pulls you in and makes you want to learn more.
Creating hooks isn’t something that comes naturally to many of us, but it is a skill that can be learned. The best way to do that is to get a good understanding of what a hook is, look for hooks in marketing materials and even things like movies and TV shows all around you. The last step is to simply practice using hooks in your own writing. Keep practicing and you’ll hone your copywriting craft in no time.
- Go to a viral site or a news website and try to find hooks on headlines
- Try to think of 3 hooks relevant to your niche
3. Test your headlines and test them again:
You use a lot of headlines in your online business from sales and opt-in pages, to blog post titles and even email subject lines. They are an important part of what you do, and getting better at writing killer headlines should always be on your list of things to work on. One way to get better at crafting headlines that work well and convert well for your particular target audience is to test.
Yes, there are a lot of great courses out there that teach you the ins and outs of copywriting, including crafting headlines. They are an excellent way to learn the basics. But when it comes to marketing, your main goal is to speak to your prospects and customers and they are different and unique. Each niche is different and within that the group of people you attract respond differently to marketing messages than those of your competitors.
The key to creating killer headlines that convert is to tweak and change common marketing knowledge in a way that resonates with YOUR readers. And the only way to learn that is through testing. Here’s how it works. You start with a basic headline that you think might be a good fit for you. Then you create a second one. This second headline could be just slightly different from the first, or it could be an entirely different concept or style of headline. Then you set up a split test so some visitors will see the first headline and others the second one. You track conversions and see which one converts better.
You can do this type of split testing on any of your sale or opt-in pages. You can also test the headlines on your opt-in forms, and even subject lines of the emails you send out. Let the experiment run and then come back and see which of the two headlines performed better. What can you learn from that data?
Learn your lesson and then set up another split test. Rinse and repeat until you run out of ideas for testing. Each test will bring fresh insight into what makes your readers tick, what gets their attention, and what makes them click the buy button. Keep testing and keep learning what works for your audience, for your subscribers, and for your customers.
It’s invaluable information that will help you throughout your business, not just when creating new headlines.
- For your next blog post write two versions of headlines (closely related)
- After running a headline for some time, modify it to the other
- Check which headline performs better and make a note (also stick with that headline)