Headlines are often the first things your customers read when they open a catalog or enter your online shop. An effective headline can be so powerful it can lead to a purchase. It can also be incredibly challenging to write.
If writer’s block is preventing you from crafting that perfect phrase, have no fear. Here are 5 simple steps to making headline writing a little easier.
Step 1: Create a Keyword-Focused Headline
Convince and Convert suggests using a free tool called UberSuggest to identify keywords you can use in your headlines based on the product you’re selling.
Another good free option for finding new keywords for your market is https://www.wordtracker.com.
Step 2: Choose a Formula (and leave the description in the description)
Once you’ve chosen the keyword you want to include in your headline, you can work on the rest of the phrase. Just remember to leave the boring features out of the headline – instead use snappy language to illustrate one of the following:
- A Big Benefit – Take some time to think about your customers’ biggest pain point and how your product addresses it. For example, if you’re selling a face cream that does the same thing as an injectable without the needle, and you know a large portion of your audience is afraid of needles, write a headline that leverages that concern like: “The Same Anti-Aging Results as an Injectable Without the Ouch!”
- Some Exciting News – CopyBlogger asserts that casting your headline in a way that suggests news, rather than advertising, can have the same powerful appeal of a feature story in the morning paper. Some examples they give include:
“At Last, American Scientists Have Created the Perfect Alternative to a Mined Diamond!”
“Introducing the newest idea in cross-training. From NordicTrack”
“Now program your DVR by simply speaking to the revolutionary DVR VOICE programmer”
- How-to Do Something – EnchantingMarketing suggests using a “how-to” headline to lure your reader by promising a solution to a problem and making that problem as specific as possible. For example, instead of saying “How To Cook Meals for Less Money” you could say “How to Eat on Less than $1.00/meal.”
Just like the “Big Benefit” headline, you’ll want to think about the pain point the reader is facing. Is the problem that meals are expensive? How much is the reader’s ideal amount to spend on a meal?EnchantingMarketing also suggests asking your social media followers or email subscribers what they’re struggling with and using their suggested topics in your headlines.
- A Thought Provoking Question – According to Convince and Convert, crafting your headline as a question is a great way to get more people engaged “because it’s human nature to want to answer the question” and search and social media users will be more inclined to click a headline written as a question. For example, instead of saying “Tax Software that Helps Prevent Mistakes” you could say, “Do You Make These Six Common Mistakes On Your Taxes? If you’re stumped on what kind of questions your readers might be asking, try https://textoptimizer.com. It’s a free tool that allows you to enter a keyword like “face cream” and, in return, show you popular questions that people are asking online about face cream.
In this example, you can see that quite a number of people are searching the phrase “How to apply face cream” so you could craft a thought-provoking question headline around that topic, like “Are You Applying Your Face Cream All Wrong?” or a how-to headline like “How to Apply Face Cream the Right Way”
Step 3: Use Active Voice
Headlines written in the active voice have a strong, direct, and clear tone and tell the reader who did what. When the subject of a sentence performs the verb’s action, we say that the sentence is in the active voice. A simple example from Grammerly: Monkeys adore bananas.
This sentence has a basic active voice construction: subject, verb, and object. The subject monkey performs the action described by adore. The subjects are doing, doing, doing—they take action in their sentences.
If we apply this rule to our face-cream example, a headline written in active voice would be “Women Over 40 Love our Face Cream”
Step 4: Make the Reader Feel Something
Review your headline once more and give it a little something extra. Add snappy language and thoughtful details to make the reader feel something. Make her smell the rose water in the face cream and feel its light-weight texture on her cheek.
Step 5: Use Online Tools to Check Your Headline
You’ve written your headline, and you’re ready to publish. But wait. Is your headline as good as it could be?
Use the Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule (another great free tool!) to determine if your headline has the right balance of word choice, emotion, power and length.
The last step to achieving a successful headline is proofreading. There are several good online resources to aid in this process. Grammerly offers a free browser extension that checks basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Hopefully by following the guidelines in these 5 easy steps, you’ll be on your way to crafting impressive titles for your next catalog, web page or blog article. Happy headlining!