A guide for writing headlines
Want to craft scroll-stopping headlines without relying on a copywriter? Irresistible headlines are invaluable. They help you...
→ Stand out from the crowd → Keep eyes locked on what you have to say → Make your message more memorable → Simplify the writing process itself
Instead of winging it the next time you're writing a headline, use this 3-step process:
1. START WITH A CLEAR SOLUTION
Say you're writing about an at-home workout that you developed to lose weight in 30 days. So, start with the simplest version of your headline…
“The at-home workout routine that helped me lose weight in 30 days”
Sounds generic, but that's okay for now. It's more important to be clear about what you're offering. We'll add additional layers later.
2. ADD SOME SECRET SAUCE: AN OBSTACLE
Think about your audience and ask yourself, what relatable obstacles do they face on their journey to lose weight?
- Do they procrastinate?
- Do they not have the right equipment?
- Do they prefer professional guidance?
- Do they not know where to start?
- Do they waste time on the wrong things?
- Do they eat the wrong foods?
- Do they not know how to balance their time?
- Do they have the wrong expectations?
Then, pick one of the obstacles above based on 2 criteria: 1) Pick an obstacle that causes acute pain for your audience, and 2) an obstacle you can help them overcome.
For our example, I'll go with the first obstacle: procrastination.
Tip 💡 If there’s no obstacle, everyone would have achieved their target weight, and the need to write your article would disappear. The obstacle is why your readers will stop scrolling: because you’re speaking to their needs and promising a better path.
Choosing the right obstacle, knowing what to call it, and how to talk about it gets much easier if you've invested in getting to know your audience, specifically their pains, pressures, and priorities.
3. WRAP YOUR SOLUTION (FROM STEP 1) IN THE PROBLEM/OBSTACLE (FROM STEP 2)
Finally, frame your solution as a path your audience can take around or over their obstacle.
This step forces you to think in terms of your audience rather than focusing on what you're selling or what you've built.
Here are a few examples:
- “How to lose 15lbs in 30 days, even if you're a master procrastinator”
- “The procrastinator's guide to choosing a target weight and target date, and nailing them both”
- “Is losing weight hard for you because you procrastinate?” You could even test multiple versions. Media companies do that all the time.
Once you've chosen a headline, make good on your promise. You've done the homework, putting thought into creating a headline that resonates with your audience. Don't just write an article about your workout routine. Add some texture to it by tailoring your message and content for procrastinators.
For presentations, articles, events, ebooks, landing pages, try these steps when you need a catchy (but meaningful) headline. If you get stuck, give me a shout and I'll help!
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