It's no doubt headline is the most important element of a copy, whether it's a blog post, a sales page or even an ebook. More es...

The Four Best Practices to Writing Magnetic Headlines

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It's no doubt headline is the most important element of a copy, whether it's a blog post, a sales page or even an ebook.
More especially in the web, headline appears in lots of place -- as title tags in search engine result page, in Facebook, Twitter and Google+ feeds, in email subscriptions and most of all, in the blog itself. A post title gives you the first impression to your prospective readers and the promise that your content offers.

Moreover, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This interesting statistics evidently shows that to learn how to write headlines that work is a critical skill, especially if you're starting out.

So here in this post, to give you a brief background, you'll find four best practices that most of successful copywriters recommend on writing headlines that grabs attention and at the same time, communicate a full message to its intended audience.

1. Use proven headline formulas

The adage "don't reinvent the wheel" rings true here. If you want to construct an effective headline, look to those successful time-tested titles. Copywriters call this as "swipe files". These are collection of winning sales letter, cosmo magazines and some bookmarks in Delicious or Stumble Upon, which they use as inspiration and future reference. Personally, I always find patterns from popular posts of Copyblogger, top news in Digg and Jon Morrow's Headline Hacks.

2. State the big benefit

In copywriting standpoint, selling the benefits first rather than the features is one of the best practices in persuading a prospective audience and that should be seen in the headline. Find the unique and major benefit that your product, service or idea offers then express it through your headline. One of the best example is Dale Carnegie's classic best-selling book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Carnegie immediately state the benefits you'll learn if you read his book, which is "to win friends and influence people".

Examples:
  • How to Write Article in 20 Minutes (Copyblogger)
  • 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic (SEOMoz)
  • 10 Twitter Tools that Help You Work Smarter (Twitip)

3. Fascinate by using hooks

Another can't-fail technique is to include hooks in writing headlines. Hooks are words or phrase that magnetically grabs a prospective reader's attention. Usually, you can do through a metaphor or analogy then connect it to a certain topic.  In this blog, I used pop culture reference as hooks. Check this examples (hooks in bold text) :
In addition, when it comes to writing "how to" and list posts , headlines written in ultra-specific way becomes the fascination itself for your intended audience. The more specific your promise, the fascinating it is. Commonly, these headlines are accompanied by exact numbers and adjectives. Take a look at these examples:

  • Seven Smart Tips to Becoming a Better Blog Commenter
  • 5 Essential Factors to Focus on Before You Write a Blog Post
  • 7 Enchanting Filipino Bloggers Worth Following

4. Use the Four U Approach


Lastly, this copywriting technique is from American Writers & Artists Institute. In this approach, an effective headline should:

  • be USEFUL to the reader
  • provide her with a sense of URGENCY
  • convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow UNIQUE; and
  • do all of the above in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way
Often, a great headline have at least 3 of these qualities. This is recommended every time you check your draft headline. If it doesn't meet at least three qualities, look for other angles. You might look for new winning structures. Or pretend to be a reader and ask yourself, "what's in it for me if I'll click this". Finally, does this headline have effective hooks that can stop a browsing audience to read it.

Conclusion

At this point, you might have a clearer view on writing effective and magnetic headlines. These four practices are the best way to help you kick-start to write better post titles.
How about you? Do you any practices to write headlines?
Let us know in the comments. . .

Recommended Reading : How to Write Magnetic Headlines by Copyblogger

 photo from:  wiccked


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