[What I Learned] Day Six: How To Write A Badass Headline

2 replies
Welcome to What I Learned Today - a randomly updated post series that
teaches you how to be a better, more successful and happier copywriter.

Today, we're gonna go after a SUPER basic, but incredibly complex, topic:

>> TODAY'S TOPIC: "How To Write A Bad Ass Headline"

Headlines are tough. Tiny changes make big differences in response. And the
"art" of writing headlines is so... intangible.

Different schools of thought. Different "arts" and "mentors." Different ways
to approach the process...

Some write them first. Some write them last. Some just grab them from the
body copy itself.

Me? I vary. Depends on the day.

But no matter WHEN you write your headline... or... What school of
thought you follow...

... There are a couple, KEY things you NEED to do, to write a headline
that gets your ad read.

And these things are:

1. Research Your Product. Simple as simple can be.

Pour over a fact and benefit sheet until your fingers are sore, and your
eyes are starting to bleed. You should squeeze every single possible
benefit out of your product you possibly can... and then... Relate these
benefits back to your prospect.

Basic. Simple. Necessary.

Once you've done this, you can move on to Step Two...

2. Research Your Prospect. You can do this in the opposite order. Or
bounce back and forth between steps 1 and 2. What's important is that
you do BOTH. No slacking.

This means:

a) Reading what they're reading...
b) Watching what they're watching...
c) Looking at competitive products & offers...
d) Surveys, surveys, surveys...
e) Testing with PPC, GWO, etc...
f) Looking at keywords...
g) Interviewing product users...
h) Looking at past controls...
i) Interviewing prospective users...

... on and on, the list is long. And it's only limited by your imagination, your
creativity and the amount of TIME you invest in this process. Which,
ultimately, is what makes a high converting letter stand out above a low
converting one.

Now comes the most important part, IMO...

3. Write Other Great Headlines Out In Your Handwriting - **** works.
Gary Halbert didn't recommend it for nothing. Because at this point, you
haven't written anything. No headline. No ideas.

You've just been loading up your subconscious with tons and tons of ideas,
letting it incubate them. It's busy crafting you up a great headline. To help
it along, you trace out great headlines from your swipe file.

You do this because you'll feel great copy... It's rhythm... It's words...
It's sounds... And you'll have it imprinted as the "goal image" for your
subconscious to use.

I can't explain it any better than saying "It Works, So Try It"... so...
Ignore it at your own risk :-)


4. Go Through Your Headline Cards - More input for your subconscious.
And you should have a whole bunch of these headline cards. Basically,
you take a whole ton of index cards, and write down good headlines you

I use two criteria. Either the ad was: 1) Successful - proven to be a
winner... or... 2) Got me to stop and read an article.

For 1) you can look for ads repeated month after month in Men's Health,
Cosmopolitan or National Enquirer (my 3 fav sources for great headlines...)
... and... for 2) You can use the same sources. Just notice what stops you
and why.

By the time you get around to writing your first big letter or package, you
should have a few hundred of these bad boys sitting around. Right now,
I've got over one thousand on my desk.

A great place to get started is books like Vic Schwab's, Eugene Schwartz'
and the issues about Neurological Imprinting in the Gary Halbert Letter

These headline cards give you more and more and more ammo for your
subconscious to tear up, rip apart and put back together into a winning
headline for your ad.

Don't know how. Don't care.

But once you've done all of the above, you let it "incubate" for a day or
two. Even up to a whole week.

You do this by ignoring all of your copy... And doing other things.

Simply walk away from your project, and let your inner mind do it's thing.
When it's ready for you, you'll know. And you'll have your headline.

(Maybe not on a platter... But you'll get it out, in a "brain dump" - aka.
write as much as you can, as fast as you can, until you can't write
anything anymore. Then search for a phrase, idea or concept that
strikes you as great. Polish it up. Test it out.)

Hope that was helpful. I know it wasn't the most revolutionary article in
the world - but if you're not doing it, you're leaving huge conversion
numbers on the table. :-(

So be sure to do your next headlines proper.

- HR

PS. Kinda busy with projects. Waiting to do the issues on bullets and
subheads until I'm working on bullets and subheads... This way... I can
give you the best info possible :-)

PPS. Like it? Love it? Hate it? Post below.

Keep me informed, and in check, with your opinion.
#badass #day #headline #learned #write
  • Profile picture of the author Warren.Richards
    Hey Hank,

    That was a good brief article on writing a badass headline. You definitely need to read a lot and need to research a lot before even starting your project. And to get a good Headline is a must if you don't want to flush the money in your toilet.

    As said Headline is the first thing that is seen by the target audience and if it is not proper you have just simply wasted your money.

    Email CopywriTer
    See The Monies Roll In

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    • Profile picture of the author darnoc92
      Thanks for the article.

      I still think the most important thing that people forget about is writing with passion. The reader/customer can see through poorly written copy because the author doesn't actually buy into or believe in the product.

      Passion makes good copy great and that can obviously be applied to the headline.

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