Ways to Write Persuasive Headlines

By Pam Ivey

The very first thing I do when writing a headline is try to think as my audience would.

As a consumer looking for this product or service – what would attract me to a headline? What words would the headline use to draw me in? What would make me want to keep reading?

What if we take a look at products, articles and services that interest you?

• What part of the headline drew you in?
• What made you want to keep reading?
• What made you look away and move on?

With the answers to these questions your headlines will attract your target audience. Why? Because you have appealed to your reader’s self-interest. Can I be blunt for a moment?

Your audience only cares about what’s in it for them.

It’s not that your audience is self-centered but that the entire point of them being on the web web is that they are looking for information on how to solve their problems. They don’t care about you, or your needs. They only care about what’s in it for them. Knowing this, you can create better headlines.

Your job with any product or service you create and promote is to solve problems. If you can identify two or three pain points that you can help with, you have identified words that you can use in an effective headline.

Let me give you an example. I friend of mine owned her own Professional Organizing Company. As a mom of young children, she really felt that pull to help other mom’s with young children. She felt their frustration in trying to be everything to everyone and knew how precious the little moments with her kids were. Her slogan for her business, “Leaving you time for what matters most!” She was selling the gift of time – sure the organizing helped too but that is how she hooked her audience, by appealing to “what was in it for them”.

This very same idea can be used in many businesses, like a Virtual Assistant business for example. You are not really selling each individual service or task – you are selling freedom. You’re selling the ability for your client to work on their business instead of in their business.

A headline should attract the audience you want attract. You can do that by mentioning them by name or just by mentioning their problem or pain points. They need to know exactly who you’re talking about so they know it’s them and they want to know more.

To be even more effective a persuasive headline should include clear language that your audience understands. Use words that stand out and mean something to your audience.

When writing headlines answer these questions:

What are you selling? Are you selling more time, freedom, safety, assurance? Think outside the widget box.
Who are you selling to? Create a segmented audience persona or avatar of who the headline is being created for.
What are the benefits of your offering? Think like your customer and list the benefits these are all words that can be used in the headline.
What pain points can you solve? You want to pick one of them to use in your headline.
What are some unique facts about your product or service? You may not use this in your headline directly but it can help you brainstorm good persuasive words.
What are the keywords or keywords phrases you can add to the headline? Studying keywords is important for headlines and everything you write.

You want to put the most important words at the front of the headline such as the keyword or the main benefit your audience will gain from clicking through or buying what you’re selling. It takes a little practice but with a little practice you’ll become an expert in no time!

 

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