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How to Write a Headline that Packs a Mean Punch

Updated: May 1, 2023

You want your headline to give them a taste of what’s coming but leave them wanting more. Get in position… Go!

Frank Sinatra punch

You might be familiar with Ogilvy’s famous quote: On average, 5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.

So according to the “Father of Advertising”, the headline you want to learn to write will be read 5 times more than the actual full material. That’s a lot of pressure. In fact, some copywriters often spend more time deciding on the perfect headline than actually writing the material.

So, how do you write a good headline? And which type of headline works best for different kinds of content?

Attention Grabbing Headlines

If only 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest, how do you write an attention-grabbing headline that will be good enough to drive people to the final piece of content?

First of all, many content creators use words that sound catchy, like “The 5 Best…” or “How to Make…”. Some consider these to be a bit click-batey but it really depends on how you write it.

Let me give you an example:


5 Killers Marketing Automations that will take your company to the next level

Sure, you might know 5 killer ways to automate certain marketing activities and bring success to your client but are you over-promising just a little bit? Will you deliver on your promise? Does it sound too good to be true?

People are way more skeptical and reluctant when it comes to clicking things online nowadays so make sure your headline is realistic, ambitious but trustworthy. Something I often showcase in my on-point newsletter is that ads, taglines, headlines and any piece of copy for that matter, that connect to their audience will never go out of style.

Practical tips on writing catchy headlines

Let me just dive right in:

  • Highlight a problem and suggest you have a solution.

  • Be snappy, witty and think outside the box. Gone are the days of quizzes, long titles or “will make you” headlines such as “What This Airline Did for Its Passengers Will Make You Tear Up”.

  • Don’t exaggerate, be realistic yet ambitious. No more “The most beautiful…” and more of “The breathtaking…”.

  • Use numbers but don’t be a cliche. Steer away from “5 Ways to” and more of “How to…”. People want to learn, not be spoken to.

  • Inform people from the get-go and give them a taste of the juicy article they’re about to read.

  • Don’t be vague, tell the reader what they’re in for.

  • Don’t be afraid to make it long if it makes sense.

My point is: headlines are more important than you think and it’s time to give them the proper love and attention they deserve. Write at least 10 headlines before you even consider landing on one. Send it around and get people’s reaction. At least at first and until you get the hang of it.

But that’s just me… thinking out loud.


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