Did you know that 8 out of 10 people read only the titles? And only 2 out of 10 read the rest? This statistic was just enough for me to take seriously the power of writing catchy titles. How about you?
Every good copywriter will tell you each element of copy is designed with just one purpose in mind — to get the next sentence read. And the next sentence has exactly the same purpose, and so on, all the way down till the reader will be guided to the CTA – call to action.
Since the battle is won or lost at the headline or title, it is obvious to say that the most important skill is to learn to get enough people to read the heading and click.
First take the main keyword and work on an irresistible title before you start writing the body content. With the title you make a promise to the reader by communicating or selling the benefit that you will deliver for the time the reader needs to invest. It is all about benefits – remember your catchy titles should deliver benefits.
Some would think that the copywriters search their brains and use their creativity juice but the reality is slightly different. Most copywriters have a special folder that could be easily exchanged for a pot full of gold. This folder contains a collection of tested and proven ads, winning sales letters and even the cut outs from Cosmo or OK magazine. This special folder is called a swipe file and it will have a collection of headlines proven to work and make money.
Strangely enough, they will work time after time because catchy titles are constructed specifically in money and time tested ways.
Below are 21 strategies for writing catchy titles, taken from Copy Blogger and the credit goes to Brian Clark.
1. Who Else Wants [blank]?
Starting a headline with “Who Else Wants…” is a classic social proof strategy that implies an already existing consensus desire. While overused in the Internet marketing arena, it still works like gangbusters for other subject matter.
- Who Else Wants a Great WordPress Theme?
- Who Else Wants a Higher Paying Job?
- Who Else Wants More Fun and Less Stress When on Vacation?
2. The Secret of [blank]
This one is used quite a bit, but that’s because it works. Share insider knowledge and translate it into a benefit for the reader.
- The Secret of Successful Podcasting
- The Secret of Protecting Your Assets in Litigation
- The Secret of Getting Your Home Loan Approved
3. Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
Simply identify your target audience and the benefit you can provide them, and fill in the blanks.
- Here is a Method That is Helping Homeowners Save Hundreds on Insurance
- Here is a Method That is Helping Children Learn to Read Sooner
- Here is a Method That is Helping Bloggers Write Better Post Titles
4. Little Known Ways to [blank]
A more intriguing (and less common) way of accomplishing the same thing as “The Secret of…” headline.
- Little Known Ways to Save on Your Heating Bill
- Little Known Ways to Hack Google’s Gmail
- Little Known Ways to Lose Weight Quickly and Safely
5. Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
A classic formula that identifies either a painful problem or an unfulfilled desire that the reader wants to remedy.
- Get Rid of Your Unproductive Work Habits Once and For All
- Get Rid of That Carpet Stain Once and For All
- Get Rid of That Lame Mullet Hairdo Once and For All
6. Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
People love quick and easy when it comes to solving a nagging problem.
- Here’s a Quick Way to Get Over a Cold
- Here’s a Quick Way to Potty Train Junior
- Here’s a Quick Way to Backup Your Hard Drive
7. Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
The is the classic “have your cake and eat it too” headline — and who doesn’t like that?
- Now You Can Quit Your Job and Make Even More Money
- Now You Can Meet Sexy Singles Online Without Spending a Dime
- Now You Can Own a Cool Mac and Still Run Windows
8. [Do something] like [world-class example]
Gatorade milked this one fully with the “Be Like Mike” campaign featuring Michael Jordan in the early 1990s.
- Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat
- Party Like Paris Hilton
- Blog Like an A-Lister
9. Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
Appeal to vanity, dissatisfaction, or shame. Enough said.
- Build a Body You Can Be Proud Of
- Have a Smile You Can Be Proud Of
- Build a Blog Network You Can Be Proud Of
10. What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
Big curiosity draw with this type of headline, and it acts almost as a challenge to the reader to go ahead and see if they are missing something.
- What Everybody Ought to Know About ASP
- What Everybody Ought to Know About Adjustable Rate Mortgages
- What Everybody Ought to Know About Writing Great Headlines
11. Give Me [short time period] and I’ll Give You [blank].
This headline promises a strong benefit to the reader, like all good headlines do. But this one is especially effective because it promises to deliver in a very short time period.
- Give Me Five Days – And I’ll Give You the Secret of Learning any Subject!
- Give Me Three Minutes a Day – and I’ll Give You a Better Complexion.
- Give Me 3 Minutes and I’ll Make You a Better Blogger.
12. If You Don’t [blank] Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later.
We love to belong, but feeling excluded is a real bummer. Whether it be a financial opportunity or the social event of the year, we simply hate it when we get left out.
- If You’re Out of the Market Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later.
- If You’re Not at SXSW 2007, You’ll Hate Yourself Later.
- If You Don’t Edit Your .htaccess Now, Google Will Hate You Later.
13. The Lazy [blank’s] Way to [blank].
This headline has always worked well with time-pressured people, and that’s certainly true for most people today. No one likes to think of themselves as lazy, but everyone likes to save time and effort.
- The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches.
- The Lazy Dad’s Way to Quickly Getting Dinner on the Table.
- The Lazy Blogger’s Way to Write Great Post Titles.
14. Do You Recognize the [number] Early Warning Signs of [blank]?
OK, technically this is still a list, but it’s wrapped up in a much more compelling structure than your typical “Top 10” article. People want to avoid problems, and this headline promises the critical tips before it’s too late.
- Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of High Blood Pressure?
- Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of an Employee Meltdown?
- Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of Digg Addiction?
15. See How Easily You Can [desirable result].
We love quick and easy when it comes to learning something new or gaining some advantage.
- See How Easily You Can Learn to Dance This New Way.
- See How Easily You Can Own a Lamborghini Miura.
- See How Easily You Can Increase Traffic With Social Media.
16. You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result].
People almost always have preconceived notions about things, and this can be a barrier to taking action. Remove the barrier that stands between them and the desired result with your headline, and people will flock to read what you have to say.
- You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Retire on a Guaranteed Income for Life.
- You Don’t Have to Be a Geek to Make Money Online.
- You Don’t Have to Be an A-Lister to Be a Kick-Ass Blogger.
17. Do You Make These Mistakes?
This is always a powerful attention grabber, since no one likes to make mistakes. If you’ve targeted your content well for your intended audience, helping people avoid common mistakes is a sure-fire winner with this type of headline.
- Do You Make These Mistakes in English?
- Do You Make These Ajax Coding Mistakes?
- Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Blog?
18. How to [Mundane Task] That [Rewarding Benefit]
Once you add “that,” just ask yourself what the top benefit of your tutorial is. Then figure out the best way to say it (which usually means being as specific as possible).
- How to Get a Mortgage That Saves You Money
- How to Get a Mortgage That Cuts your Monthly Payment in Half
- How to Get a Mortgage That Gets You in Your Dream Home While Saving You $937 a Month
19. Leaving Out the “To” Works, Too
Want to increase the curiosity factor of your headline, while just about guaranteeing that you’ll nail the primary benefit of your tutorial? Start with “How” but leave out the “to.” You’ll still be making a beneficial promise to your reader that will be fulfilled in the content, but the intrigue factor will be higher and your results perhaps even better.
Let’s look at these famous headlines:
- How I Improved My Memory in One Evening
- How I Made a Fortune With a “Fool Idea”
- How a New Kind of Clay Improved My Complexion in 30 Minutes
20. How to – great heading
You must have heard that it is virtually impossible to write a bad “how to” heading. It is proven that “how to” videos, articles and posts are more often bookmarked, linked, reshared and searched for. Readers are looking for useful information, if you can provide it, they will thank you for that with clicks, likes and reshares.
- How to travel for free…
- How to drive traffic…
- How to generate leads…
- How to make money online…
- How to work from home…
21. Double benefit – Headlines
Two benefits not only seem better than one to they the heading containing double benefit are proven to work also better to get readers to click and want to read the body to get both of the benefits. The most famous example could be a book that was written in 1936 and sold over 15 million copies so far: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – do you think that the heading helped?
- How to make money and have fun…
- How to kiss a girl and watch a football game…
- How to save time and get things done…
If you enjoyed the post and learnt something about writing catchy titles, please leave some comments and hit “Google+”, Facebook “Like” buttons.
Here’s To Your Success
» Marcin Marczak has written 119 posts