On average, 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. Communicating with your customers takes a lot of effort so you don’t want to lose their interest after the first line. Whether it’s a sales letter, blog, brochure, Facebook page or website, good headlines attract attention and leave readers wanting to know more.

Fortunately, the techniques for writing killer headlines are within everyone’s reach.

You’ve probably heard about selling the sizzle, not the sausage. Every headline needs to spark readers’ curiosity about how they will benefit from your product or service. It might be having a problem solved, an opportunity presented or learning something new.

Here’s an example:

“If You Love to Save Money Safely, Get [insert product name] – the Proven Health Discovery for Guaranteed Fast Results”

This headline has many of the top most powerful selling words. Research shows there has been consistency about the impact of these words for the last 50 years. Of course, this is an exaggerated, rather nonsensical example. But importantly, it shows how our headlines need to reflect the interests of our target readers, whoever they are – in this case, those of us who love to save money safely. And it shows how our headlines also need to explain what we will gain from the product – in this case, guaranteed quick results for our health.

The example gives us some, but not too much, information about the product and so our interest is piqued. As a result, we read on, wanting to know more.

There are plenty of other killer headline words – new, free, happiness, effortless, incredible, instant – that could be included in this headline too. Even so, using any one or a combination of these words in the right context can attract attention for your products or services.

It’s a fine balance and worth experimenting with different headlines. But to make it easier for you, here are some suggestions.

You and your

You and your speak directly to readers, which makes them especially powerful words. You can use them with other killer headline words and in questions to make an attention-grabbing headline.

  • You’ll be twice as productive with our…
  • Build your brand. We’ll show you how.
  • Are you a social media winner?
Save/Savings

The words save and savings (as well as free) immediately show the benefit of what you are offering, as do cut and reduce. Complimentary is a sophisticated way of communicating this benefit.

  • Save one whole hour each day with our new…
  • Free workshop – sign up now!
  • 5 easy ways to cut your energy costs
Fast/Quick/Instant

These words create a sense of urgency and offer a solution to time poor readers.

  • Need a plumber, fast?
  • Instant download – and it’s free!
  • The faster way to business success
Use numbers

It’s easy for us to remember top 10s and 3, 5 and even 7 points. Odd numbers are more credible than even numbers except 10. When writing about large numbers, it’s more persuasive to use the precise figure rather than a rounded figure.

  • Top 10 business writing tips
  • 5 reasons why social media always works
  • How my gran saved $6,729 on her tax bill
What, why, when and how

These trigger interest.

  • How to write killer headlines
  • Why I love public speaking
  • What millionaires do differently
Arouse curiosity

Secrets, Revealed, Uncover, Discover, Tricks and Imagine arouse curiosity and suggest we will learn something new.

  • Revealed: 3 simple tricks to boost energy
  • Imagine working from your dream home – every day
  • Discover 7 ways to get fitter in 7 days

As you can see, there are lots of simple techniques you can use to write your own killer headlines. And it can be a lot of fun too.

If you need help with writing your killer headlines, Proof Communications’ expert copywriters and editors are here to help. Our skills in writing and editing persuasive, powerful B2B content for marketing and sales materials has benefitted hundreds of services and professional services businesses’ brochures, tenders, proposals, websites, capability statements, articles and blogs.
Call Rosemary Gillespie on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216 or head to the contact page.
For more help with words that win, take a look at our short video: Words that win
How to write Powerful Headlines was last modified on June 25th, 2017 by Proof Communications Author
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