Creating a headline is probably one of the most difficult parts of the freelance writing process for many freelancers. The headline is the most important part because it has to grab your reader’s attention and intrigue them enough to make them want to keep reading. A headline has to be creative, personal and a little bit mysterious. It has to tell the reader what’s in it for them if they click through to the article or blog post. In other words, will they learn how to make more money? Save more money? Learn a new skill? Lose belly fat? Boost web traffic?
Tell them they’re getting exactly the information they’re looking for…just as long as they click the link.
A headline has to be specific and well thought out, which is why a lot of writers find themselves struggling to create captivating headlines that actually help their clients drive traffic and boost sales.
Here are five reasons you don’t need to be a marketing expert to create effective headlines (and the 10 formulas to prove it).
1. You Write How You Talk.
If you’re like me and you’ve been told you write the way you speak in normal conversation, you should have no problem locking down this essential skill. It helps if you’ve got a background in writing, but if you don’t, not to worry. You can still master this skill with just a little bit of time, effort, and creativity. When you sit down to write, think about how you’d discuss the topic with your best friend or a close family member. And write it down. Make sure to read it out loud to see how it sounds outside of your own head and then make any necessary changes.
2. You Take the Simplest Approach.
If you’re always taking the simple route, you can write a headline using a formula. You might think taking the simplest approach is lazy and careless, but in fact, some of the highest earning copywriters use formulas to save time. Because the more efficient you are, the more you can get done. And the more money you make. If you find that writing headlines using formulas works best for you, then by all means, use them.
3. You Learn Quickly.
If you have a little bit of time to learn this skill, you can learn how to write effective headlines pretty quickly. In just a few hours, many new copywriters pick up the skill by taking an online training program that gives them the ins and outs of starting and running a freelance copywriting business. AWAI has dozens of programs available for novices and veterans alike.
4. You Can Read an Article.
That’s right. If you can read an article (like the one you’re reading now), you can definitely craft compelling headlines that attract visitors to your site and keep them coming back. There are dozens more articles out there on the craft of creating amazing headlines from scratch or using proven formulas that get people clicking (if you’re still not convinced). The Kopywriting Course has a pretty cool (and in-depth!) article on crafting great headlines you might want to check out – complete with images, explanations, tips, and tricks.
5. You Can Hire a Copywriter.
If all else fails, you can always hire a copywriter to do your writing for you (including headlines!). If you find that you simply don’t have the time to write your own content, a copywriter could easily supply you with sufficient content for as long as you need. Find a copywriter that can write in a tone that matches your company’s brand and that specializes in your industry. The best copywriter for the job is out there. You just have to find her.
Bottom line: creating amazing headlines that convert visitors to sales isn’t as difficult as it might seem with the help of formulas like the ones I’m about to teach you. These formulas have helped me generate hundreds of SEO-boosting headlines that help drive traffic and increase user engagement. So let’s take a look at my five favorite headline formulas.
1. The All Encompassing Headline – AKA “The Ultimate Guide”
FORMULA: The Ultimate Guide to [Achieving Desired Outcome]
Ex: The Ultimate Guide to Making Six Figures Freelance Writing This Year
2. Proven Techniques Headline
FORMULA: [Number] Proven [Ways/Actions/Techniques] to [Achieving Desired Result]
Ex: 7 Proven Ways to Burn Belly Fat Fast
3. The Social Proof Headline
FORMULA: [Social Proof] [Desired Outcome]
Ex: The Tool More Than 500,000 Entrepreneurs Use to Triple Their Web Traffic
4. The Celebrity Headline
FORMULA: How [Celebrity] [Achieves Desired Outcome]
Ex: How Robert Bly Generates $1M in Passive Income From Writing
5. The Hacks Headline
Formula: [#] Hacks to [Achieve Desired Outcome]
Ex: 10 Hacks to Living a Healthier Lifestyle
Just for being cool, I’m gonna give you five more formulas. Use them wisely, grasshopper. [*bows*]
6. The Reasons Headline
Formula: [Number/Here’s Why] [Outcome]
Ex: Here’s Why Your SEO Strategy is Falling Flat
Ex: 3 Reasons Your Web Copy Isn’t Pulling in the Sale
7. The Ignorance Avoidance Headline
Formula: What You Should Know About [Subject]
Ex: What You Should Know About Inbound Marketing
8. The Results Headline
Formula: How I [Achieved Desired Result] in [Timeframe]
Ex: How I Grew My Instagram Following From 10K to 150K in a Week
9. The Curiosity Headline
Formula: [A Vague Statement That Invokes Curiosity]
Ex: The 5 Reasons Most Web Traffic Goes Stale
10. The Steps to Result Headline
Formula: [Number] Steps to [Achieve Desired Result]
Ex: 5 Steps to Getting Your College Degree Online
With the right words and the right formula, you can create winning headlines that attract visitors and get them clicking. And remember, you can always ask for help if you find that writing headlines just isn’t for you, or you simply don’t have the time.