3 Practical Tips for Writing Compelling Headlines

by | Copywriting, Writing

How to write headlines

In my last post I talked about why it’s so important to know how to write good headlines. Today I’m going to share three practical tips on writing headlines. Every successful copywriter understands the power of a well written headline. If the headline fails to do it’s job then nobody will read your article.

But you already know that. So let’s move on to a few concrete tips that will help you master the art of writing headlines.

1. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. Study It.

Here’s what I mean by this. Copywriters have been creating, experimenting and studying headlines for decades. They’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t.

This doesn’t mean there’s a cookie-cutter approach to writing headlines but there are some rules you can learn (and break if you want to) that will help you think more like a master copywriter. There’s a reason why the best copywriter’s make $125/hr plus for what they do. It’s because what they do works.

One of the best places to find good headlines are magazines and popular blogs. Next time you’re in the store pick up a couple magazines and study the headlines on the cover. Those magazines make millions of dollars and stay in business in large part because of the headlines on the cover.

(Now I realize many of these magazines use sex to sell their publications. I don’t do that nor do I promote it. I’d rather use the power of words (not sex) to promote my writing. But that’s me, I like to keep it classy. There are plenty of copywriters out there who will tell you otherwise but I draw the line when it comes to using sex or manipulation to get people to take action.)

You’ll also find it helpful to study other online copywriters and bloggers who know what they’re doing. Find a blog that has over 100,000 subscribers and scan through their headlines. What do you notice? Which ones have the most comments and social media shares? Study those headlines.

2. Use lists in your headlines

You’ll notice many successful headlines use lists. They may read something like this…

10 Ways to Improve Your Call to Action

7 Tips on How to Become a Better Copywriter

The 5 Best Workouts for Copywriters

Those are all examples of using lists to attract readers. People like lists because they feel like they’re going to receive a lot of useful information in a format they can scan through.

Lists also help your target market see the benefits of reading your article. If the headline is “The 5 Best Workouts for Hockey Players,” then hockey players are presented with a list of benefits.

3. Lack of curiosity killed the copywriter

Curiousity is a powerful thing. That I-just-got-to-know-the-rest-of-the-story feeling is something every copywriter should know how to incorporate in his or her writing.

The copywriter who learns how to take advantage of curiosity will experience a significant increase in readership. Don’t just write a boring headline that makes sense. Be creative and step outside the box for a moment. You may even find this process to be somewhat enjoyable.

If you study great copywriters you’ll find they understand and practice this concept well. There are so many articles and ads I’ve read by copywriting legends simply because I couldn’t not read it. The headline hooked me and I wasn’t able to turn the page until my curiosity itch was relieved.

Your turn now

There you go. Three simple, yet highly effective, tips on how to write better headlines. Now all you need to do is practice them. Remember to buy a couple magazines tomorrow at the store and study the headlines on the cover. Have fun with this and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.

About Josh Monen

Josh is a direct response copywriter and marketing strategist who makes a living by achieving remarkable results for his clients. His unique understanding of human psychology and marketing principles make him a valuable asset to the clients he serves.