Deep dive: Secrets to writing the perfect headline
There’s a vast ocean of opportunity for headlines to drown your message and sink your marketing and social media campaigns. A great headline instantly grabs and engages, entices and inspires. And some headlines can evoke a reaction – or start a movement – with a few simple words.
So what are my secrets to writing successful headlines?
Trigger words evoke some type of action or reaction. Words like get, explore, discover, buy and save are powerful trigger words that can encourage your audience to take action. A headline without a trigger word is a little like a car without an engine – it goes nowhere.
People act based on how you make them feel. Fear. Anxiety. Curiosity. Empowerment. Anger. Joy. Compassion. Envy. These are all powerful motivators that you can leverage in your headline in an empathetic way. Consider words like imagine, secret, risk, reward, doubt, hate, love, power and relax to humanize your headlines.
Creativity in headline writing is great, but headlines that make the reader work too hard to understand the message are seldom successful. Use familiar trade language to help your readers instantly relate to your brand, topic or campaign.
A successful headline doesn’t just inform, it evokes curiosity and captures your attention. Add an unexpected twist to your headline to pull your readers in. Ask an intriguing question or make an irresistible statement.
Every great headline adds an element of urgency to propel readers to act versus wait. Words like now, today, first, only and hurry are all commonly used words for driving urgency.
Struggling with writer’s block? Try these free tools for headline optimization that can provide inspiration.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. This free tool can be used to get a “headline score” based on word balance, word choice, emotion, power and character count.
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator. This nifty tool lets you enter a keyword or subject and makes headline recommendations for you. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
- HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. If you’re looking for inspiration, this tool lets you add three words and then generates a ton of title ideas that you can easily tweak for headline optimization.
- Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. This headline analyzer tool rates your headline on your EMV (emotional marketing value) with industry selections that you choose.
- Sharethrough. Get a quality score on your headline along with a breakdown of its strengths and weaknesses and suggestions for improvement.
What’s the easiest way to get professionally written headlines for your B2B direct mail and digital promotions? Contact us for a no-obligation copywriting estimate.