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How successful writers lure readers: They write ace headlines

by | Copywriting

Headlines make or break your content. Here are some tips to help you craft headlines to lure your readers and encourage page clicks.

Advertising legend and original ‘Mad Man’ David Ogilvy told us:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”

Yes, you read that right.

He didn’t stop there. He also said:

“It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money…”


At this point, I’m guessing you realise the importance of headlines. Also, why you need to spend almost as much time crafting your headline as you do writing your item of content.

Headlines can make or break your content. Be it a web page, blog or e-mail subject line. They entice readers. What’s more, they are your first opportunity to generate enquiries or sales.

Think about it.

When you are time short, what do you do to decide whether an article is worth your effort reading or if you can ignore it?

You scan the headline. You do this because you know that a good headline sets the tone for the rest of the copy.


So it follows, if your headline is unappealing, no matter how informative, or brilliant your article is, it will never be read. More importantly, you won’t get clicks on your calls to action.

Readers simply don’t have the time to give articles a second chance.

So let’s take a closer look at what makes the perfect headline. For starters it must:

  • Appeal to both readers and search engines
  • Answer as many ‘w’ questions as possible (Who, what, why, where, when and how)

Beyond that headlines need to be:

  • Specific
  • Keyword rich (Google needs to know what keywords you are optimising your article for)
  • Sum up your item of content in as few words as possible

What’s the magic formula to creating compelling headlines?

First off, I recommend you:

  • Be clear about who you are writing for
  • Pinpoint the most interesting aspect of your article to use as a basis for your headline.

For further inspiration, take a look at this mnemonic acronym. It was created by content marketing consultant Barry Feldman and published in Social Media Today.

Ask (the question headline)
Dos and Don’ts (educate your reader)
Nightmare (speak to the problem that keeps your readers up at night)
Success (show readers how they can achieve success)

Headlines take time and effort. But what could be more important? If you want your content acted on, first of all, you need to get your content read.

And that’s all that really matters.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

And finally

If you would like help writing headlines and communications that get read, then do get in touch. I’d be happy to help!

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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