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How to write headlines that attract attention and create interest

Or a quick guide to writing effective headlines

Everything you write hangs off your headline, wherever and however you use it. It’s the first copy your potential customer reads. The little collection of words that attracts attention and makes people want to read more.

That’s all your headline has to do. Attract enough attention to make people read it. And arouse enough curiosity to make them read the next line.

Doesn’t seem like much does it? And yet headlines can be painfully difficult to nail. This quick guide will help you.

What makes a good headline? 

A well-written headline can arouse curiosity, create emotion, challenge opinion, ask a question, make an offer, promise to solve a particular problem, share a secret or perhaps start a story. It can be a testimonial or a quote. Some contain news or offer helpful information.

The best are usually (but not always) no more than 16 words and don’t have full stops. A full stop sends a subconscious signal to your reader that it’s OK to stop reading. As you want your reader to keep going, unless you need to split two sentences you should avoid full stops in your headlines.

To make sure your headline can be read and understood quickly and easily write it using simple language. And where possible, be specific with facts and numbers.

24 tried and tested examples

These examples are all proven formats for headlines. All you need to do is take the basic idea and adapt it to suit what you want to say.

  1. 140,000 people tried this once – and came back for more
  2. 21 little words that make a big difference
  3. Are you concerned about your child’s safety on the internet?
  4. Because there’s more to wealth than money
  5. Do you want the best health care for your family?
  6. Give me ten words and I’ll help you increase your sales
  7. Have you ever wished you could make the perfect chocolate cake?
  8. He started with nothing, now he’s retired – at 40!
  9. How I lost 3 stone – and kept it off (but I still eat chocolate)
  10. Need more time?  Now, 11 easy ways to get a longer day
  11. Now, a new way to a good night’s sleep
  12. Save £199.00 with our Gold Wedding Package
  13. Secrets of a top flight golfer
  14. Seven steps to your dream garden
  15. Want a designer suit for £30?
  16. Warning: don’t mix chemicals. How to clean your carpet safely
  17. What would you do with an extra £200 a month, every month for the rest of your life?
  18. Who else wants to lose weight fast?
  19. Who knows the best copywriting tricks?
  20. ‘Why I think John Brown is a genius.’ Jen Smith, John Brown client since 2007
  21. Why I use words to sell
  22. Why more people buy a Jones 123 than any other hammer
  23. Will you be financially secure when you retire?
  24. Would you like to increase your sales?

So now it’s over to you. Good luck. Please let me know how you get on.

P.S. For more examples read How To Write a Good Advertisement by Victor O. Schwab. Starting on page 7 you’ll find 100 Good Headlines and Why They Were so Profitable 

 

Hello. I’m Sarah Russell, a freelance creative copywriter.

Andy Maslen called me ‘the mistress of the subject line’ (which does exactly the same job as a headline). He’s a very kind man.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you found something in it to help or inspire you, or to make you smile.

 

Email me at: info@sarahrussellwriting.co.uk 

Call me on: 01873 776 153

Connect with me on: LinkedIn 

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One thought on “16 words (more or less) that can change everything”

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