The Most Important Part of Any Article is The Headline
The headline will either keep people reading what you have to say, or send them away.
The key is to understand your audience.
Use their biggest problems, fears, hopes, values, beliefs…
Every copywriter uses the same old headlines again and again.
“Some headlines seem new and unique, but most often they’re modified copies of the old great headline formulas”……says Peter Sandeen
A headline formula that worked yesterday will work today, and it will work tomorrow.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be creative.
If you want to write great headlines, you need to learn to modify the formulas.
When you understand why each headline works, you’ll start to write great headlines intuitively and only use the formulas for inspiration.
These are the three characteristics that make the headline great…
1. They capture attention.
2. They create fascination.
3. They create anticipation.
Here is why they are important…….
1. Capture Attention
- It is easy to read a headline and then forget it in seconds.
- If you can find something that really threatens something that someone cares for, you’ve got yourself a great headline.
- Don’t use alarming headlines if you can’t deliver a real threat.
- What comes after an “alarm” headline:
- 1. Use a sub-headline to either agitate the fear of the threat or to offer a glimpse of hope.
- 2. First paragraphs should agitate the fear of the threat. You get people to want the solution even more.
- 3. Point out that you have a solution after the agitation. It’s often best not to tell what that solution is just yet, but instead keep readers waiting.
- 4. When you finally reveal the solution in full, remind readers of the threat. Your solution seems more valuable when the threat is on top of their minds
As with all the alarm headlines, the threat has to feel real to the readers.
If you use a threat that your audience doesn’t fear at all, they’ll ignore your headline.
2. Create Fascination
- Fascination separates great headlines from good ones.
- Fascination (or powerful attraction) gets people to read more.
- It captures your audience’s attention and “forces” them to focus on what you have to say.
3. Create Anticipation
- Great headlines make people expect a reward for reading the entire article/post/landing page/etc.
- And that premise is what keeps people reading
- Secrets, Power, and Prestige – We Want them All
The second most important part is the Sub-Headline
- Good sub-headlines add meaning, interest, and/or value to the headline.
- Learning how to write great headlines and back them up with sub-headlines is one of the key copywriting skills
It’s highly recommended that you invest some time into learning how to write great headlines and sub-headlines…..it’s well worth it even if you don’t sell anything but write for magazines, blogs, etc.
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