13 replies
I just wanted to reach out here and see if I could get a few idea's on coming up with headlines, because mine suck!

I like to think I'm a pretty decent copywriter, I do my own copy and it converts pretty well and I'm always testing to make it better - I think I do some of the best email copy and bullet's out there, but my headlines stink.

I've picked up Vin's Headline Libs which has helped a ton, and saw something that Jay Abraham had of the 100 greatest headlines either, but I want to come up with my own stuff, not just rip off or swipe others.

Any of you guys here have some advice on how you come up with headlines?

Thanks a bunch.
#headlines
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Great question Kelly, only if we had the one right answer.

    I see it as very case specific, meaning no one answer fits all.

    There are guides and our own stored memory of what's worked before and combining two thoughts together which haven't been joined before to make the new.

    Where the product or service seems best to have a news approach, then you can learn from the news media.

    Example: A high percentage of news headlines start with a factual beginning then use an action word which ends with an s.

    "Dell slashes 4,000 of it's work force"

    "Trump rips into Obama"

    Then you see how Gary Halbert created his news headline which went "Wife Of Famous Film Star Swears Under Oath Her New Perfume Does Not Contain An Illegal Sexual Stimulant"

    It has the factual beginning then has the action word ending with an s{swears}.

    That's how you can handle an ad that is news worthy.

    Next is an ad that deals with the reader wanting to achieve a specific outcome...say passing a certain exam.

    You can call in the use of authority and intrigue to match their desire.

    "When The Top 1% Of X Exam Students Have An Exam To Pass ...And Don't Have The Time To Study, This Is What They Do..."

    You'll notice this headline came from "When Doctors Feel Rotten, This Is What They Do..."

    Then there is a straight out offer headline where the product is very straight forward to understand.

    "Corns Gone In 8 Days Or Your Money Back"

    So to summarize, you have to join the state of mind of the reader with the best approach for the product you are dealing with.

    Best,
    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post


    Any of you guys here have some advice on how you come up with headlines?

    Thanks a bunch.
    I've always thought great bullets often worked as great headlines. I posted a thread on here that gives you many different types of bullets - you can use the same ideas to create your headline.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post

    I just wanted to reach out here and see if I could get a few idea's on coming up with headlines, because mine suck!

    I like to think I'm a pretty decent copywriter, I do my own copy and it converts pretty well and I'm always testing to make it better - I think I do some of the best email copy and bullet's out there, but my headlines stink.

    I've picked up Vin's Headline Libs which has helped a ton, and saw something that Jay Abraham had of the 100 greatest headlines either, but I want to come up with my own stuff, not just rip off or swipe others.

    Any of you guys here have some advice on how you come up with headlines?

    Thanks a bunch.
    After you've been at this for a while, the various headline types become ingrained in your thinking. If you're not at that point yet, get Robert Boduch's book, "Great Headlines-- Instantly!". He teaches 22 different types of headlines.

    The next thing to learn is word use. Headlines should use proven words (discover, you, free, etc), eye-catching words (secrets, amazing, shocking, etc) and words that create mental imagery (also known as power words).

    Also, headlines should use specifics and be pithy.

    Now you're ready to write a great headline.

    Gary B's attention-getting formula I = B + C is a good one. Interest = Benefit + Curiosity. He talks about it here...

    Marketing Bullets | Bullet #23

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author adamlantelme
    Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post


    I've picked up Vin's Headline Libs which has helped a ton, and saw something that Jay Abraham had of the 100 greatest headlines either, but I want to come up with my own stuff, not just rip off or swipe others.

    Thanks a bunch.
    I'd like to respond to this for a second. Ripping off or swiping headlines is never a bad idea. Obviously you don't want to plagiarize, but there isn't all that much new under the sun. If something aint broke, don't fix it the cliche goes( don't use cliches or cleverness in headlines!)

    For instance Bob Bly says that when he has trouble coming up with a headline, he'll put "How to" directly in front of it. A how to headline will work in many different scenarios. i.e. "How to get rid of acne forever." or "How you can gain access to this tightly guarded secret that most wall street brokers don't even know about."

    Attention is the name of the game.

    You want to pull people out into your copy with it.

    When I write my headlines, I always try and think about how people are going to respond to it. I want to make sure that what I'm writing is something that will lead them into the copy. I want my headline to be Interesting and useful

    Michael Masterson offers the 4 Us. Unique, ultra specific, useful, and urgent. If a headline contains 3 or 4 of the Us, then it's most likely going to be read, and probably will drive people into the copy.

    Hope that helps

    Adam
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    • Profile picture of the author Peterdeg
      If you really do suck at writing headlines then what Adam said works:

      Originally Posted by adamlantelme View Post

      For instance Bob Bly says that when he has trouble coming up with a headline, he'll put "How to" directly in front of it. A how to headline will work in many different scenarios. i.e. "How to get rid of acne forever." or "How you can gain access to this tightly guarded secret that most wall street brokers don't even know about."
      This also works with "Art of...", so in this example, if you were skimming through some blogs and you saw a blog post heading that said: "Art of wirting Great Headlines - Increase your post readers by 75%" I would have thought that you would probably read it.

      To help out, Viperchill did a good post on this: Get Hundreds of Links to Your Next Blog Post, Guaranteed

      Hope this helps

      Pete
      Signature
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Originally Posted by Peterdeg View Post

        To help out, Viperchill did a good post on this: Get Hundreds of Links to Your Next Blog Post, Guaranteed

        Hope this helps
        Pete
        I would caution on transferring what works on the blogosphere and social media
        to sales pieces.

        More clickthru's from the headline doesn't always equate to more sales.

        Bob Serling had the least number of sales of same product from the most clicked thru headline sent to his email list.

        Best,
        Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author hello123
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    • Profile picture of the author Susovan
      Some essential point to be kept in mind while selecting a good headline

      • Use present tense
      • Use active voice
      • use of punctuation is very important
      • If possible use AP and Kansas style rules
      • Use number if possible
      • Don't start a headline with a verb
      • Use proper subject and verb
      • Follow KISS strategy- Keep It Short and Simple
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      • Profile picture of the author adamlantelme
        Originally Posted by Susovan View Post

        Some essential point to be kept in mind while selecting a good headline

        • Use present tense
        • Use active voice
        • use of punctuation is very important
        • If possible use AP and Kansas style rules
        • Use number if possible
        • Don't start a headline with a verb
        • Use proper subject and verb
        • Follow KISS strategy- Keep It Short and Simple
        Don't agree with some of these recommendations at all.

        Starting a headline off with a verb is a great way to invite the reader into the copy "Discover," "Find out" "Introducing," these are all great verbs to begin a headline with.

        Why use any kind of rules with a headline? Many of the best headlines broke the rules to become the legends that they are.

        Numbers? You only need numbers when specificity is essential. You won't need numbers when you're selling hormone supplementation.

        KISS? Really? While a short headline certainly allows for readability, a long interesting, and unique headline will work just as well, it has everything to with what kind of emotion you are trying to evoke.

        Past tense works well in many instance. I.e. If you had known about X you could have made xxxx dollars in the month of May.

        As a rule there are no rules, so be wary of anyone who says that there are.

        Headlines are only meant to attract attention and create a natural transition into the lead, and get people into the body copy.
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      • Profile picture of the author kellyburdes
        As I said in my post I'm by no means a headline expert - but I do think my copy is pretty good in that a lot of people have offered to pay me $5000+ to write for them after seeing what I have on my pages, and I make a profit in the mid six figures per year in one of the hardest niches to make money in (options trading, ETF's and stocks), and what your saying doesn't make sense to me.

        Anyway, I do thank you for taking the time to write, but what you said just doesn't jive with what makes sense to me in other elements of copy unless I'm writing a technical manual of some kind.

        One point I'd like to correct is grammar type advice you gave. It's much more important to write exactly as people speak, not exactly the way english teacher expects you to write, if you want to sell something.





        Originally Posted by Susovan View Post

        Some essential point to be kept in mind while selecting a good headline

        • Use present tense
        • Use active voice
        • use of punctuation is very important
        • If possible use AP and Kansas style rules
        • Use number if possible
        • Don't start a headline with a verb
        • Use proper subject and verb
        • Follow KISS strategy- Keep It Short and Simple
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  • Profile picture of the author john88online
    Current thinking is that when it comes to keyword tags, less is more. Overloading your keyword meta tag with many keywords only reduces their impact on your rankings. List all the keywords your main clients might use to search for your web page. Then use only five to seven of the most relevant ones on each page, and use different ones to describe the content of different web pages
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    • Profile picture of the author adamlantelme
      Originally Posted by john88online View Post

      Current thinking is that when it comes to keyword tags, less is more. Overloading your keyword meta tag with many keywords only reduces their impact on your rankings. List all the keywords your main clients might use to search for your web page. Then use only five to seven of the most relevant ones on each page, and use different ones to describe the content of different web pages
      What exactly does that have to do with headlines?
      :confused:
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Kelly,

    When I write my headlines... I usually aim for putting down the big idea.

    I hang my hat on the hook or USP in the copy... sometimes both.

    Not all the time, of course. But it's a good starting point, IMHO.

    -Daniel
    Signature

    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author jonmark
    Have you been trying to figure out how to create better blog headlines that not only captures readers' attention, but makes them want to stick around and subscribe?
    I've had people compliment me on the titles of some of my blog posts and have even had people ask me for suggestions. When I'm put on the spot like that I can rarely deliver anything of value.
    The problem is first of all, I'm no headline expert - then on top of that my methods are unorthodoxed - I have no methods! I generate headlines after I've written the content and many times they could be a lot better. Sometimes, I've had to revise headlines after someone else has suggested a better one.
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