from the CEO of Elance."
Those were the
words that made me stop and look at an email
a little more closely. Before I saw that
particular subject line I had already sent
20 or so emails into the gmail archives −
without ever opening them or giving them a
But I kept
looking at that particular email when I was
done sorting through the junk. Why?
It's all about
the headline. It made me curious. Why on
earth would the CEO of Elance be sending me
a message? I do business there, but nothing
to warrant that kind of attention.
And they don't
send emails like that every day. So I opened
That's the power of a good headline.
are writing subject lines for emails, titles
for articles, or headlines for salesletters,
the principles always remain the same. A
good headline will make people read what you
wrote. A bad one will cause people to trash
your emails and click off your articles and
Here are 10
shortcuts to writing killer headlines every
time. I use each one of these at least once
a week when I'm writing. These techniques
help me increase my open rates, give my
websites better engagement, and help me sell
They can do
the same for you.
1. Steal The Headline
start with the headline. Sometimes I can
work that way, but a lot of times I write my
headline last and steal it from my copy.
When I first
heard about this method, I didn't think it
would work at all. But it's so simple. Time
and time again I find a killer headline
buried in the middle of a paragraph, just
waiting for me to take it out and put it in
happened here. I had originally titled this
section, "write the headline last", but
after writing about how to do it, I realized
"steal the headline" was much stronger.
your next headline from your copy. I think
you'll be amazed.
2. Use This Simple Formula
Using a number
of tips to start out your headline is a
great way to develop headlines for articles
and special reports. People love tips and
they'll read them all day long.
sure your tips are good. Keep it interesting
and moving along quickly.
BTW... did you
notice that I used this method for the title
of the article you're reading right now?
listens to you - really listens - how do you
You feel good.
And you want to listen to whatever they have
to say. But you can't listen to someone in a
piece of writing. So instead you need to
To do this
well, you have to understand your reader and
really be able to relate to them.
So hop on
forums and read what people are saying. Talk
to real people about your subject. Read
articles about your subject. But whatever
you do, get to know the people you are
writing to. This will let you figure out
what makes them tick.
Once you know
that, writing headlines becomes much, much
Empathize with Your Customers
4. Tap Their Inner Voyeur
gossip. They love to read personal stories,
and the gory details of people's personal
lives. Just take a look at the kinds of
magazines that are sold in the grocery
store. Half of the ones at the check-out are
gossip rags and nothing more.
know what sells. So try starting a headline
with a personal story (a
usually works best). Something like... "My
Weight Loss Disaster" or "My Love Life
Drama" will often pull super well for you,
and it's easy to write stories like that as
Uncreative Person: 10 Lack-Ofs
Lexicon of Losers
9 Signe of a Losing
5. Split Test
No matter how
well you think you know your audience, you
should always, always, always split test
headlines. You create two headlines and test
to decide which one works the best. Visual
Website Optimizer is a great tool for doing
this quickly and effectively.
A lot of times
when you test, you find that the headline
you thought would win actually loses. If you
want the very best results from your
writing, split test.
This is a
quick and easy form of split-testing. If you
want to know what kind of messaging that
customers respond to and you need to know
quickly, you can set up an adwords campaign
with the two headlines you are considering
and see which one gets a better click
You don't even
need a website to test this approach. You
just need a budget of about $50. Simply send
any traffic that you get to a third party
site. The object is not the headline. It's
knowing what works.
is simply creating a title where two or more
of the words have similar sounds at the
beginning. An example would be, "Friday's
Five Fab Tips".
makes your title more repeatable and means
that it may get shared more often. It's also
a fun way to write.
8. Rhythm And Rhyme
Melts in your
mouth, not in your hand.
famous tagline of M&Ms candy and it shows
how powerful rhythm can be in your writing.
Rhyme can also work much the same way. If
you make your title easy to repeat by using
rhythm, rhyme and alliteration, then your
article or email is much more likely to be
9. Condense And Then Condense Again
easy to get too wordy with a title. You want
to express your idea as succinctly as
possible. More words don't necessarily make
a title better. Yesterday I was working on a
headline and I reduced it at least 10 times
before I was happy with it.
Use as few
words as possible to clearly express your
10. Use Yahoo Answers
is a go to place in my secret bag of tricks.
If I'm absolutely stuck for a good title
idea I search my subject at Yahoo Answers
and look for common themes. If it's getting
asked a lot, then it will likely make a
solid title for your writing.
STAND OUT from the
SMM: Love to be
Brian Edmondson is an author, speaker,
and Internet entrepreneur who helps website
owners get more traffic, subscribers, and
his "Wall Street" job in 2001, Brian found
true success and independence through the
power of the Internet. He has launched
several websites, including one that grossed
over $50,000 in sales in the first week and
has masterminded many multi-million dollar
Internet businesses. He now works full time
online from his home outside of
Philadelphia, PA (or anywhere there is an