Chapter 1: Crafting a Winning Headline
There are five important components of any winning headline. We will consider
each of them in this chapter.
Speak to Your Audience
If you ever hire a top-notch copywriter (i.e. the ones who charge hundreds or
even thousands of dollars per page), one of the first things they’ll ask you to do is
to procure some market research about your segment—or to help them to
conduct that research.
The purpose of this research is simple. In order to write good copy, a copywriter
needs to speak directly to her readers—not to “readers in general.” This means
you must know something about your prospective buyers: their ages, their tastes
and preferences, and their nationalities, for instance.
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You will want to know where they come from, what they want, and—most
importantly—why your product would be a good solution to a problem or
problems they have. Without having this information, your chances of writing
compelling copy are poor.
With this in mind, think hard before you start hammering out your first headline.
Think about your target group, their desires, and the particular problem that your
product solves. Make sure you address it succinctly and clearly in your headline.
Use Psychological Trigger Words
When it comes to writing a winning headline, few things are more important than
psychological triggers. These are words that evoke a positive psychological
response in your readers, independently of whatever is said about your product.
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As an example, “free” is a psychological trigger word. So, if you’re planning to
give a product or service for free, include the actual word in your headline. It will
catch visitors’ eyes and lure them to read further.
Another powerful trigger word is “tested.” For instance, you might say something
like “This book contains dozens of tested and proven strategies that I have used
for years.” This will convey to the reader that your product isn’t just any product; it
is one that has been evaluated—tested—by many trials over time.
Other powerful triggers include words like pioneering, surefire, crammed, soar,
growth, explosive, secret, scientific, research, breakthrough, truth, unlimited, and
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So, next time to you write a headline—or even fill in a headline template—
remember to employ some of these psychological trigger words, so you can be
sure to draw the greatest possible emotional response from your readers.
Read News Headlines for Inspiration
At first, you might not see a clear analogy between sales-letter headlines and
news headlines, but in fact, it is there. Many of the greatest copywriters use
elements of news headlines in their copy; and sometimes even write headlines
as if they were news headlines.