Jennifer LawrenceI’ll bet that got your attention right?

That is the whole point of this post. Headlines, and how to use them to get your reader’s attention.

Besides, is there really anything hotter than Jennifer Lawrence right now?

Here’s a fun little fact for you…8 out of 10 people will read your headline but only 2 out of 10 will read your content.

Why? Because, unless you ‘hook’ your reader’s attention with your headline enough to make them want to read on, you can wave them goodbye.

Does this mean that you should spend 80 percent of your time writing the headline, and only 20 percent writing your article? Not necessarily.

There is a real art to creating headlines that work well to capture your reader’s interest. Not many people can call themselves ‘masters’ of this art either. Those who can are able to charge huge sums to create headlines for those who are less skilled at it. Many have made their fortune selling their skills in this area…testament to just how difficult it is to craft a compelling headline.

If you follow a few simple rules though, this elusive, yet essential part of marketing can become easier to pull off successfully…without having to hire an expensive copywriter.

Here are a few ideas you can use to make headline-writing easier.

  • Use numbers (like “The top 10 ways…”)
  • Use adjectives (words that add to a noun, like ‘killer headlines’, or ‘stunning content’
  • Use ‘what’, ‘why’, or ‘how’ in your headline
  • Make a promise (that you can deliver on) that will satisfy a want of the reader
  • Use end result + time frame + eliminate objections (“how to lose 10 lbs in 30 days without feeling hungry” for example)
  • Make the headline about the reader by using ‘you’ (“how you can lose 10 lbs in…)
  • Use ‘belonging’ to drive interest (“who else wants…”, or “20 ways successful writers…”)

These tips can be used in combination following some simple formulas, or structures as follows:

  • [number] secret[s] of [something] – example (10 secrets of fast content creation)
  • here’s how [somebody] [does something]
  • [number] little known methods [to do something]
  • [number] quick [solutions, methods, ways] to [something]
  • now you can [something desirable] and [something else desirable]
  • how to do [something] like [somebody great at doing something]

As well as using the above structures for your headlines, there are two very well known models you can follow…

The first, AIDA, is more than a century old but don’t let that put you off. The great copywriter Gary Halbert used it to great effect. If you don’t know anything about him, I highly recommend you do some research. Here is a good place to start

The second, the ‘four U’s is more modern (created by Michael Masterson), and widely used in advertising circles. Let me explain what the two models consist of.


Awareness – You need to grab the reader’s attention, make them aware that you are ‘talking’ to them

Interest – You need to hold their interest, using benefits for them, not features

Desire – Create the desire in the reader to want to know more

Action – What action do you want them to take? To read more of course, so try to leave them in suspense

While AIDA is primarily for advertising copy, the article itself, if you can incorporate it into your headlines then you are more than likely going to get the visitor to read more, which is the whole point of a headline after all.

The Four U’s

Urgent – Create a sense of urgency in the reader

Unique – Make your headlines unique, not like most generic ‘how to…’ headlines you see all the time

Useful – What is it about what you are saying that is useful to the reader?

Ultra-specific – Be specific about what your content will do for the reader

Again, this model is primarily for content writing but, just like with AIDA, if you can incorporate it into your headlines you are more likely to pre-sell the content.

Now all of these formulas and models are great but they take may take some time to master so that they become natural. One of the best ways I have found to get better at creating headlines is to keep a swipe file.

Whenever you see an advert, headline, or even a trailer for a movie that really catches your eye, piques your interest, or makes you want to find out more, take a screen shot of it. If it is on TV, write down what attracted you to it and keep it in a file on your computer. If it is an advert in a magazine or newspaper, cut it out and keep it somewhere. You can then build up a good source of professionally written headlines to draw inspiration from in the future. After all, those writers get paid well to come up with them and they obviously work (or you wouldn’t have noticed them right?)

Writing great headlines is one thing but you need to follow it up with equally great content. No point getting the reader all excited and then letting them down with what follows right?

Here is a great way to come up with awesome content that has already passed the ‘interest’ test so you can back up your killer headlines with compelling copy.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.