You will probably want to keep this next to your computer and refer to it when you need to get the “creative juices” flowing. Don’t get trapped in a box by thinking that this is just intended for sales letters. This is a cheat sheet for all headlines (blog post headlines, article headlines, etc…).
NOTE: You can also use this cheat sheet when you are looking for subjects to write about.
Coordinate your writing with breaking news whenever you can. Doing this will undoubtedly attract more attention.
Speak directly to the reader and call them out. Those who may or may not be guilty of something are both going to be intrigued by your view or the information you have concerning that type of person.
Put forth a proposition. For example, If you give me 7 minutes, I will show you how you can lose up to 17 pounds.
Be shocking! This always comes with a risk, but every once in a while the benefits can be enormous. Just remember that the usage of shocking material should tie into your core message in some way.
Use sex to captivate your viewer. It might sound shocking, but men want to know about women, women want to know about men, and so on and so forth. So include sex whenever you can. Just make sure it does not get too dirty.
Try to find common ground with your reader. It may be hard to know exactly what your reader believes, however, you can anticipate a reader’s opinion on a subject based on the article they are choosing to read. For example, if you are writing about 100% natural remedies for acne you can point out the greedy or unsafe tactics of the prescription medication companies.
Inspire curiosity. Everyone has the feeling that they just need to KNOW once you have sparked their interest. In other words, if you spark the interest of the reader in the headline then they will proceed to read on until they find the answer they are looking for.
Outlandish cause and effect. For example “increase your income by spending MORE.” These are perhaps some of the best and most popular headlines in history so do not shy away from them.
Make a deal. If you are offering extremely valuable information to the reader or if you feel as though you are providing tremendous benefits for a very small investment then you need to incorporate that into the headline.
Empower the reader. Promising the reader that they can pay back the person or business that has wronged them. This is extremely powerful in today’s society and will often lead to a lot of readers.
Tell a story… Obviously, you cannot tell an entire story in a headline. However, you can certainly begin a story in the headline and capture the reader’s attention. Just think about what goes through your mind when someone says “once upon a time…” Obviously, a story is about to unfold, but you begin thinking about what it could possibly be about. This is precisely why this tactic is extremely valuable.
A Question is worth a thousand words. Ask a question that gets the reader thinking and inquiring. For example, “Do you know how you can make $500 in 50 minutes?” Questions like that will give you complete command over the reader.
The new causes and effects. Create a sense of instantaneous gratification that leaves the reader wanting to act accordingly.
A prime example of this is using the x and y strategy (if you do x then you get y).
The If and when phenomenon. Predict what the reader might need or want by saying if you like or feel ____ then you will really enjoy _____. Or even leave it open ended by asking when you do _____ do you feel ____?
Express genuine anger. These are perhaps some of the most viewed articles because the headline leaves the reader curious, empathetic, and introspective. For example, spending hours on an email and never getting a response. Virtually everyone has experienced this painful situation, and they want to know how you dealt with it and what they should have done about it.
The power of the name drop. Throw out the name of a celebrity and something that was not obviously associated with them. For example, John Travolta says the best membership site on the planet is ____.
Make an emotional connection. This can be anything that you feel passionate about. Just remember to use authentic emotions. For example, “Ignoring the bullies 101.”
Solving the mystery. This is very valuable in a particular niche because it gives you the freedom to introduce a mystery/phenomenon or to give your opinion or answers about an on-going mystery.
The real attention grabber. People often say “ a picture is worth a thousand words,” but that is not really proven to be true unless you use that picture at the beginning of a blog. By doing that you can expect to get more than a thousand words in feedback. You can even double the amount of feedback or interest you get by using a photo of someone famous or by using a picture that is mind boggling. You can bet that people will read whatever you write just to figure out the backstory behind the picture.
Urgency! Saying something such as “World ends at 7 p.m.” probably will lead to some negative feedback because people will take it quite literally. However, that sense of urgency created by the headline will undoubtedly produce quite a lot of views and feedback and may even go viral.
Everyone loves a scandal. This is a dangerous tactic especially if you are making up a scandal about someone in your niche, but it has proven successful in virtually all niches.
Validation works everytime. If you are in tune with the feelings of those in your niche or your viewers, then you likely know their fears. Don’t be afraid to agree with them and write an article that speaks to those concerns. You will probably get quite a bit of valuable feedback.
Debunking a myth. These are some of the most popular headlines because they interest everyone and touch on things people have heard for years. For example, “finally debunking the string theory!”
Predicting the future. Use a headline that speaks to something that has not happened yet. This will leave people wondering if you have evidence to support your claim and it will perhaps lead to a lot of agreement. Even if you are wrong people will not be too critical.
Tossing out breaking news. People love to hear about anything new and exciting so do not shy away from sharing some groundbreaking information.
Going into attack mode. This should be rather obvious, but it is not a bad thing to attack something you do not like. Those who feel the same way will defend you, and those who disagree will express their opinion. Either way, it is a win-win.
Faster, cheaper, and easier. People love things that are easy, quick, and inexpensive, which is why a headline that touches on any of these three topics is always a good headline.
The power of a quote. Any quote will, for the most part, attract attention. The more controversial, thought-provoking, and known – the better.