“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
I couldn’t agree more. That’s why you need solid hooks & thumb-stopping headlines. People need that initial motivation & momentum to read your first line, then second, then third, and so on…
With that, let’s get into some elements that actually do make your headline better:
1. Number games
People get easily seduced by numbers because quantity matters in one way or another. The number fetish is real. Numbers have that magnetic pull because there’s that lust to know more.
Nobody ever tries just one thing and makes a decision. They always need more, and with headlines that include numbers, you give them a reason to consume more.
E.g. “5 Reasons why you can’t get your lazy ass out of bed in the morning”
And your prospect’s like: I know I’m lazy, but there are 5 reasons for that?!
2. Open a loop
Opening a loop is a lot like teasing. It’s like you want your audience to chase you down the body copy road. You drop hints that make them curious but don’t entirely reveal what it is.
Your reader has to follow you through the subheadline valley to get to the body copy district that leads straight to the center of your copy (and their attention!)
E.g., “They laughed when I sat down at the Piano, but when I started to play!”
This headline dates back to 1926 but still makes me curious even today.
3. The How-Tos of the world
Everyone wants to learn. People want to be guided and shown how to do something one way or another. The how-to headlines are like those professors with infinite wisdom that you can’t get enough of.
You just want to consume more, and that’s exactly the starting point you need to dive deeper and quench your thirst for educational curiosity.
E.g. “How to Win Friends & Influence People”
More than just being a “how-to” headline, it works because what it’s teaching people is exceptional.
4. The Negatives
Humans are assholes. We feel more controlled by negative emotions rather than positive ones. Don’t be scared. It’s psychology.
Our brains are wired this way, so we’d instead move away from pain than run towards pleasure.
You can use this law of attraction in headlines to call towards the negative so that the reader knows what to ignore.
E.g. “This is the worst way to start your day. If you’re doing this, stop!”
You’d be scared out of your wits to open this but gotta make sure, right?
5. Asking a Question
Headlines with questions pique curiosity. This curiosity drives them from headline to body copy in seconds. But the only problem is- the more questions people ask, the more common they become.
Leading to most people avoiding them because they’ve seen too much. The best way to ensure your headlines with a question get to read further is to make them specific.
E.g.: “Why are you waking up in the middle of the night even if you were sleeping peacefully?”
That’s intriguing and will most likely get opened because it’s not a general yes & no thingy.
There are a million ways to write headlines, but these principles can give you an edge. I tend to write crappy headlines first, finish my first draft, change the headline, write another, edit the final draft & then change again.
That’s how iterative the process is. So don’t worry if you can’t get these (or any) elements the first time. It’s an ever-evolving game.