This week, I am discussing the importance crafting killer headlines for your web copy. To see the other articles in this series, check out the blog post titled Instantly Create Headlines that Will Stop Your Target’s Dead in Their Tracks.
I have a friend that started a great non-profit called, Look! It’s My Book!. This organization gives away free books to children in the Central Illinois area. Janet, who the President of this awesome organization, shared with me a startling statistic: Most kids below the poverty level don’t have ONE book in their home! Can you imagine that? They don’t have access to the very thing that can get them out of poverty– knowledge.
So, let’s pretend that you are Janet and you wanted to create an article highlighting the best books for 3rd graders. Using the tips that I have just given you and your swipe file, here are three steps to creating great headlines:
- Step #1: Pinpoint the benefit
- Step #2: Review your list of headlines and play around
- Step #3: Brainstorm as many headlines as possible
Step #1: Pinpoint the big benefit.
Ask yourself, “What will my reader accomplish by reading my article? How will they be changed afterwards?” In this case, after your reader finishes reading your article, they will know which books are age appropriate for the third grade reading level. Three big benefits for parents of third graders (your targets) are:
- Not having to go through the hassle of picking out books
- Not picking out the books that are too advanced and intimidating for 3rd graders
- Nurturing a love of reading in a child and setting them up for success for the rest of their life (readers are leaders)
Step #2: Review your list of headlines and play around.
Plug your topic and benefit in. Test. Poke. Create horrible headlines. Create so-so headlines. Eventually, something great will evolve.
Using the Magnetic Headline’s list that I introduced you to in the previous blog post, here’s how Janet could “play” with her list:
- Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance] “Now You Can Have a Great Reading List For Your Third Grader
- Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of Build a Home Library Your Third Grader Can Be Proud Of
- The Lazy [blank’s] Way to [blank]. The Lazy Parent’s Way to Pick Out Books for Your Third Grader
- See How Easily You Can [desirable result]. See How Easily You Can Make Your Third Grader Love Reading
- You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result]. You Don’t Have to Be a Third Grade Teacher to Know What Books Third Grader’s Love
- Warning: [blank]. Warning: Your Third Grader’s Will Love Book List
- How [blank] Made Me [blank].How This Third Grade Reading List Made Me The Coolest Parent EVER
- Are You [blank]?Are You Sure Your Third Grader’s Books Are The Right Reading Level
Step #3: Brainstorm as many headlines as possible, then select one.
You won’t have forever to select your headline, but play around as much as time allows. As I said before, sometimes it takes a lot of headline ideas to get to the one that really resonates with your audience. Create as many as you can, step away, and then select one.