Headlines are important. How effectively you write your headline determines whether your copy will be read, or once someone begins reading, whether they will continue after the first break in copy. Creating compelling headlines and sub-headlines is a critical skill for Long Beach writers to learn.
Luckily, there are plenty of templates available that can help you start writing winning headlines very quickly. Using these templates will help you learn the rhythm of effective headlines so they eventually become natural to you.
However, to really excel at writing headlines, you need to have an understanding of the process that went into creating them in the first place. Here are four steps to developing effective headlines.
Step 1: Outline your sales letter or article
Your headline or title makes a promise. To ensure that the promise is kept, you need to know what your copy or article says before you write your headline. By creating an outline, you are able to know where your article or copy is going without actually writing it just yet. This will empower you to create a headline that makes a promise that is actually kept by the body of your copy.
Step 2: Determine the tone
Your headline and copy must match in tone to be effective. If your copy is hard-hitting, so must be your headline. If your copy is casual, the headline must follow suit.
Step 3: Determine your style
How will your copy be written? Will it be technical? Tongue-in-cheek? Laid back casual? Business casual? As with tone, you headline and copy must match in style, as well.
Step 4: Break it up
Sometimes, to be effective, you headline can run a bit long. This is when you need to break it up to create white space, thus making it easier to read. Here are some examples:
- Great new discovery kills kitchen odors quickly!
Makes indoor air “forest fresh”
- I've said "goodbye" to backbreaking garden chores
And yet my garden is the showplace of the neighborhood!
- The crimes we commit against our stomachs
Five foods you should avoid if you suffer from indigestion
Now that you've got an idea of how to build your headline based on your copy, you'll want to take a look at effective headline templates to find one that works best for your copy. Here are two types of headlines that are sure to draw readers into your copy.
1. Ask a question
When properly worded, question headlines draw people in ... because they want to see how you answer the question. Of course, you need to be careful and make sure the copy actually does answer the question!
2. Make them wonder
People love a little mystery. As with a question headline, mystery headlines draw people in to read your copy. Headlines that contain the following words and phrases, often compel people to read on:
- Little known ways
- Lazy man’s guide to ...
- Beginner’s guide to ...
- You don’t have to be a ____ to be ____
- You never knew existed
- They don’t want you to know
Yes, there are plenty more headline templates you can use. However these should get you started on the right track.
Would you like to shine the light on your writing brilliance? Make your online footprint support your goals as a writer? To learn how Carma Spence can help you own your awesome in business and life, and increase your visibility online visit www.carmaspence.com.
NOTE: Are you a writer, author or editor connected to Long Beach in some way? Please contact me ... and you can be a part of my series of profiles of local writers!