marketing-copywriting-headline-questions

COPYWRITING: The 7 Deadly Questions To Ask Yourself Before Writing Any Headline

What’s up? I’m fine thanks. Today I woke up feeling that I had to write this piece of information to teach you something smart about Copywriting. I’m going to cover here The 7 questions you need to ask yourself before writing any headline for your articles. This is key in a world where EVERY BUSINESS needs to know how to stand out because we all know how freaking crowded the digital world currently is nowadays. So this will give you a winning edge through simple copywriting concepts, that way every type of content you unleash online that has a headline will look like AWESOME content for your readers/customers.

And since I woke up very objective today, I’ll be very direct with this intro. So here’s WHAT you will get as a result from this article:

  • You will learn what calls a person’s attention at a subconscious level when they read
  • You will know which parts of your work you have to criticize in order to keep improving your copywriting skills
  • You will see the solid benefits of thinking outside the box with your own marketing content

Ready?
Then let’s have some fun learning more secrets on headlines.
Here are the questions you need to make before writing anything.

QUESTION #1 – IS THIS REALLY USEFUL TO THE READER?
When you are working as a copywriter for a client OR you are producing some content for your own blog, the very first thing you need to know is acknolewdge your headline as the salesman of the content you produced. This is key. Key. Because is the headline that can:

  • Draw the reader’s attention and generate curiosity
  • Gives the impression that you are writing about something new and awesome
  • Generate a rollercoaster of great emotions on the reader

So the FIRST THING you have to consider when you are about to write a headline is asking yourself:

“DOES THIS HEADLINE SEEMS TO PRESENT SOMETHING USEFUL TO THE READER?”

Focus on giving your visitor a powerful motive for him to stay and read your content. Remember that today people browse online mostly to have fun, learn how to do something new or just to get some sort of quick help. Which is why the usefulness of your content needs to be presented really fast with a powerful, eye-catching title so your visitors at least click on it to read what the content. Or haven’t you heard that people when browsing online leave pages very fast?

So to summarize it, you need to show WHY your content is useful for your reader using a limited number of smart, powerful and trustworthy words which defines part of the magic of A Headline.

QUESTION #2 – IS MY CONTENT PROVIDING MY READERS A SENSE OF URGENCY?
HERE’RE THE 5 LATEST SECRETS THAT THE MARKETING EXPERTS ARE USING WITH E-COMMERCE SITES TO GENERATE MORE LEADS! This was a test. Did you found yourself somewhat trapped by this headline? Did it create a sense of urgency in your heart? Do you want me to produce this blog post for you or do you want the link to it? That’s ok, no need to answer my questions. I know the answers.

Urgency sells your content beautifully.
Because by doing that effectively on your headline, and putting the right words your readers are hard-wired to respond and creating that sense of “I must read this thing now or I’ll regret” in your readers can upgrade your game definitely, for sure.

IF you can give them an INSTANT REASON to read your content, you will get much stronger engagement results from visitors because people do want to find good stuff to spend their time reading on online as well. So if you know how to introduce content wisely, by placing the customer/reader in a tight position where he’ll mentally hurt himself and die of regret for not clicking your headline, then you win.

Examples with Urgency:

  • This 5-days old Marketing Tool Cuts Work Hours by 80%!
  • Google Will Reveal 300 Ranking Factors to Those Who Subscribe Today In This Webinar
  • Here’s A Smart Collection of Email Marketing Pitch Templates to Those Who Subscribe Until 9pm Tonight

Get it? Be urgent. This is a particular useful to trick for News websites that depend on smart headlines to catch the reader’s attention every second. But remember: with great power comes great responsibility! Produce awesome content to back up your headline or else, this will backfire and your reputation will be hurt. We don’t want that, do we?

QUESTION #3 – AM I COMMUNICATING THAT MY CONTENT IS SOMEHOW UNIQUE?
There’s nothing NEW on the internet. Seriously. You think the blogs you follow are writing about a brand new topic nobody spoke before? Of course not. We all write thanks to things we read, watch and experience, and even experiences repeat in people’s lives.

There’s nothing actually new to read.
Because even famous blogs are bringing content online that already exists for a long time unlesse you’re talking about Artificial Intelligence or something far beyond our current reality. But the truth is that maybe the blogs you follow writes content which already exists on books, on videos or any other source of information.

Bottom line: You aren’t reading something brand new.
So how do you become unique online? How do you stand out?
The secret is simple: H-O-W you present the content is what matters.

These are the key points you must worry when thinking on Uniqueness:

  • Easy to understand and simple to read
  • A Creative sentence with high-impact words (ex: powerful, secret etc)
  • Promise extremely High-value (ex: new method, revolutionary business model, change your live etc)

Think on a 5-year-old kid reading your headline and finding it truly great, whilst his desire to read what you have created is too strong for him to contain because of your content’s promise and uniqueness.

That’s the difference of a good, unique headline.
You sell some content that appears as interesting as the most bombastic news any person ever had on that topic by playing around with creativity and strong (sometimes hideous) words. Because after all, uniqueness must shout “THIS IS UNIQUE” even nowadays when every business is producing loads of clever, interesting content. And this is why creativity + strong words + promise puts you on the next level,

So ask yourself if your headline looks unique.
Otherwise, fix it. Now, next question.

QUESTION #4 – AM I WRITING SOMETHING THAT IS ULTRA-SPECIFIC?
Since we have a huge load of great content to read onine nowadays, a clever approach to take when you are about to write your headline would be think of presenting it as ultra-specific as possible. Why?

Because this way you’ll show to your visitors that they are going to learn about that subject, in a depth that they have never seen before in their lives. And this, is which will give you that click-winning edge. Another good side of this is that you look much more authoritative to the reader due to being able to talk on very specific subjects he likes.

OK, but let’s get to work.
Here’s what you are going to do to create a ultra-specific headline:

  • 1. Read the whole content you produced
  • 2. Understand what points are you being very specific
  • 3. Create the headline based on those specific points

I’ll give you an example…
Let’s say you wrote a whole article about Internet Marketing.
Let’s also say you mentioned Twitter as a marketing tool in your article, and you wrote some really intelligent, very specific tips about it.

What should be your headline?
Something like this: Why Twitter Has ONE Uneven Winning Edge Over Other Social Networks When it Comes to Internet Marketing Strategies

So although we are talking about internet marketing and useful Social Networks for Marketing strategies, pointing out Twitter as a decisive factor for a marketing arsenal is catchy. After all, people will think: “What Is That ONE Uneven Winning Edge? What’s different?!”. Get it? People are curious and using this is a must for you on headlines. Just remember to never lie to your visitors and think on what you wrote to give your content a whole “new look”.

Write ultra-specific headlines that are compelling, and I promise that if you market your content right, a CROWD will check out at least the first 3 lines of your content.

QUESTION #5 – CAN I INSERT HUMOR IN A CLEVER WAY?
Humor rocks online. Period. Indeed a very intelligent way to make content look SPECIAL is by injecting humor not just on headlines, but on content as well. And make it all look natural (obviously) because we don’t want any ugly jokes for sure.

So if you can INSERT HUMOR in your headlines it will give it much more power, much more personality, and much more humanness because the best content that you can produce is A-L-W-A-Y-S going to be:

  • A content that provides real, extreme high-value for readers
  • A content that readers easily understand even on complex topics
  • A content that communicates the personality of whom is presented it

So ask yourself: How many people you find it funny you HATE? Almost none I assume. This is why good humor works so well. Because it can make any visitor feel more comfortable with your writing, makes him feel like he’s talking to a real person which makes him at least read more than usual.

This is why a headline can — and should — involve Humor whenever it has a window to use it. Just avoid it on serious topics/niches on which people are not that used to humor, like politics for example.

So here are a few examples to use:

  • What a Heck Was This Guy Thinking By Posting A Naked Picture On His Company’s Linkedin Page?!
  • This 15-year-old Is A Real Life Proof That You Shouldn’t Mess With Angry/Crazy Squirrels
  • These 3 Smelly Grammas Got Together to Unleash A Prank In NY for 2 Hours

It’s a lot easier to read a 5000-word article if you KNOW that the content has humor on it! Why? Because it makes things more fun to read, more casual which brings good vibes to people. People love good vibes man. You know that. So if your headline sells humor nd your content still provides value……you have epic content.

Because once you KNOW FOR SURE that what you are about to read has awesome value and at the same time some good funny stuff, you will easily go through all the content, no matter how long it is. If the content writer is smart, and knows how to hold people’s attention, we can trap them until the person finishes the reading.

This is why you should play with humor whenever possible because that’s a very smart way to bring more traffic to your content. Try it.

QUESTION #6 – IF I READ IT OUT LOUD DOES THE HEADLINE SOUNDS GOOD?
This is more of a writing tip but that is also crucial to Click-through rate success. Pay attention here because this is important. Look, when people read stuff online — ok, not just online — their minds also produce the SOUND of the text lines they’re reading.

Seriously. Whenever you are reading any headline or any content stop to realize how much you talk to yourself while reading it. You’ll notice that if a headline SOUNDS GOOD when you read it out loud, it’s easier for you to check it out and continue reading it. Right? It’s just like music for instance.

Try it. Read a headline from a blog post you really liked and check the sonority of the words while you read it. You’ll see that even the SOUND of a headline influences your subconscious to make a decision to whether click on it or not.

So, to give you some context here are some examples:

  • BAD: The Thing People Ought Be Doing For Getting More Money
  • GOOD: This Is The Thing People Should Be Doing If Money Is What Matters
  • BAD: There Has Never Been A Mind With So Much Proficiency In Our Era Since Einstein
  • GOOD: The Incredibly Skilled Mind That Has Equaled Einstein In This Era

The way you put words matters for people so whenever you write a headline, read it out loud first. If it passes this simple test, then it’s ok to go to the final question.

QUESTION #7 – COULD I BE “CAPTURED” BY MY OWN HEADLINE?
The final test: what do YOU think of your own headline? Would you click on YOUR content if you had several other options to choose from? That’s the ultimate test to know if your article’s headline is interesting enough for users. And the good news is that you can — and should — test it, with yourself. See your content as if you were the user, the reader, the customer and ask yourself: “Would I click on it?!”. Is that simple.

OK, but let’s get more practical here.
Below is a good technique you can use to make your job easier:

  • 1. Write 20 different headlines on the same content in a piece of paper
  • 2. Write 20 more headlines that are from other content you find interesting
  • 3. Keep that piece of paper for 1 week without looking at it
  • 4. Check that piece of paper at the end of that week and see which posts do you choose

Sure, sometimes we don’t have ONE week to wait because we do need to publish content as much as possible, but if you have a content schedule to follow you can already do that in advance if you know your topics.

Then you’ll just have to calibrate your headlines until they have the “same look” other interesting headlines have. And once you picked a headline that is actually yours without remembering that it was you who generated it (this is why the 1-week gap), then you win. That’s a great headline you got there, my friend. Use it.

This is a very effective technique.
And sure, in case you still KNOW which headlines were written by you and which weren’t, you will either have to raise a number of days without looking at the paper, or put a lot more headlines on that piece of paper until you get confused as hell.

The goal is picking your own headlines by yourself. Period.
When you reach that stage, you can be sure that your copywriting power….is surely at a higher level right now. Congratulations. Go grab a glass of a healthy orange juice and celebrate (sorry I don’t drink).

CONCLUSION
There’s one important point to highlight here: DON’T EVER try to deceive the visitor by using these techniques! Understood? The whole purpose of the questions I presented here, is to TEST your own headlines and see if you can make it much more attractive, a lot more appealing to the user whilst it delivers 100% of your content WITHOUT promoting something you are not delivering.

And if you have some copywriting technique that you use and you want to share with others and enhance this content, feel free to comment below. We surely will appreciate it.

Take care.

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