It’s no secret anymore that certain writing techniques drive consumer engagement. The same applies to writing good headlines.
#1 Basic Tips
In the mysterious depths of the interwebs, you’ll find lots of guides and information about how to write the perfect headline that results in more clicks. In the following, I’ll present my favorite tips and techniques.
Let’s start with the basic tips.
Use Capital Letters
I first read about using single capital letters in headlines in this awesome Wordstream PPC guide. I remember how I went and checked out all the headlines that I came across on Google. That’s when I first realized what really made the difference. The headlines with capital letters simply look much better.
So whenever you are writing a headline, make sure you capitalize the first letters of words (except for articles). Here is an example: 8 Common Mistakes When Writing Headlines
Btw.: With the help of this guide I was also able to reach an ad with an average CTR of 20% over the period of 6 months and it’s still running! But we’ll get back to that some other day. Point being – it’s a good guide. But please note: It was published at a point in time when Google hadn’t introduced their extended ads yet. You can use more characters to fish for clicks now.
Test Your Headlines
You know, people are great. You can tell them about your problems and in most cases you’ll get feedback. But now comes the great surprise – machines can be great, too. Especially, when it comes to writing headlines. Here is a tool that analyzes your headline, gives you instant feedback and even names reasons for it’s feedback (you don’t always get reasons from humans, eh?). If you still prefer human feedback, you can always get in touch with me.
Use Power Words
The previously mentioned tool will tell you the same, when you try it out: Use power words. Toy with the emotions of the potential customer. Trigger something in the people that creates the urge to click on your ad or headline. That’s what headline hacking is all about. You can find a huge list of power words here.
#2 Hacks For Awesome Headlines
I got most of my headlines from Jon Morrows Cheat Sheet. You’ll have to give up a (fake) email address to get access, but what’s one fallen soldier compared to the tank you get in return, right?
You can read Morrow’s entire ebook and will get lots of details and powerful insight, but I’ll give brief examples anyway. Also, I’ll add four more strategies that I like to use. Let’s start with two main types of headlines: How tos and lists.
How To Headlines
This strategy is almost self explanatory. You can use it in different ways:
- How to [Blank]
- How to Be [Desirable Quality]
- How to [Do Something] Like a Boss
- How to [Blank] and [Blank]
Here are my examples:
How to Surf with Style
How to Repair Your Skateboard In 3 Easy Steps
How to Sing Like a Professional
This is probably the one I use the most, because this strategy delivered high click rates in the past. People love to see lists and numbers. Never type out the number in order to make your headline more eye catching.
- 5 Easy Steps to [Blank]
- 9 Ways to [Blank]
- 3 [Blank] That Will Change Your Life
3 Reasons Not to Date a Surfer.
You could add some mystery to the headline by using the power word „secret“: 3 Secret Reasons Not to Date a Surfer.
#3 Bonus Strategies
Jon Morrow defines bonus strategies basically as headlines that are not lists or how tos. Those types of strategy can solve a problem, provide the reader with new information etc.
- Warning: [Blank]
- The Ultimate Guide to [Blank]
- Why [Blank] Is [Blank]
Warning: How Surfing Can Hurt Your Health
The Ridiculously Awesome Guide to Converting Headlines
We are going to extend the bonus section a bit. The first two headline strategies of lists and how tos build a solid foundation and should be included in the following headline topics whenever possible. We’ll cover headlines that refer to famous people, mistakes, threats, or belonging to a group.
Famous People Headlines
To be honest, I personally couldn’t care less about famous people. However, the media works its magic quite well and manages to create this wondrous vibe that makes people wanting to do anything to be like a famous person. You can use this to your advantage. Simply include famous people in your headlines.
- How to: Surf Like Kelly Slater
- Rob Machado’s Top 10 Tips For a Better Balance
People are naturally extremely curious beings and always want to know if they are doing things right. Otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. You best come up with questions that appeal to a large audience.
- Avoid These 12 Mistakes When Surfing!
- Do You Do These (Blank) Mistakes?
Belonging to a Group
Being understood feels nice, doesn’t it? It leads back to being part of a group, not being alone. I always found that soccer clubs are doing an outstanding job in using this exact feeling to their advantage. There are people out there punching each other’s faces over a result they can’t influence, because they are not even allowed on the playing field. Most soccer fans strongly identify with their team, it’s their group. Use this for your headlines, put it in front of the right audience and I guarantee you’ll get a few clicks.
- 8 Things Only Surfers Understand
- 5 Songs Only Manchester United Fans Know
Fear is strong. Do you remember the times when you didn’t want to go into the basement all by yourself, because you were sure there was a wolf living down there? Address the fear of your potential customers to draw some clicks.
- 6 Warning Signs For Cancer
- Warning: Shark Infested Water!
- The Shocking Truth About (Blank)