How To Write Headlines Your Readers Can’t Resist

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As David Ogilvy, American advertising legend stated: “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Now, this is from the time when advertisements were in newspapers and magazines.

What’s the number in 2020? Less, you might guess?


As an example, if you advertise on Facebook, you are usually charged for impressions. Average CTR (Click Through Rate) on Facebook is somewhere around 0.9%-1.1%. That means that when you have written the headline for your ad, you have spent 99 cents out of your dollar.

The digital landscape is busier than ever. Your customers are being exposed to thousands of ads every single day. One of the most effective ways to stand out from the crowd is to put an emphasis on your headlines. 

Your headline is the first impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a headline or post title that turns a skimmer into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.

Knowing how to craft great headlines is a skill to know if you are writing:

  • social Media Ads
  • emails (more specifically, email subject lines)
  • blog articles
  • landing pages
  • sales letters, or
  • any piece of communication you want somebody to read

So if you want to get learn how to write headlines your readers can’t resist, learn these 5 essential qualities of a compelling headline. 

Grabs Attention

Your headline’s first job is to grab your reader’s attention. To do this, it must do at least one of these things:

Make a claim or promise. Don’t go for catchy alliteration or unknown marketing terms. Make your statement known. 

Evoke an emotional response. You are trying to make someone feel something because you are trying to engage them.If they can relate from an emotional level they’ll be more likely to go with you than not.

Stir up the reader’s curiosity. Intrigue leads decision. It makes people say “I want to know more”.

I can 100% guarantee that when your customer ignores your headline, he or she will ignore the rest of it, too.

It is important to try and test different headlines to make sure that you find one to grab your reader’s attention.


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Screens and qualifies readers

A good headline qualifies the reader. You can use headlines to segment who you are trying to reach, and address them directly. This makes your ideal customer feel as though you are speaking to them directly, which makes the product or service more appealing. 


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Draws the reader into body copy

You are not supposed to sell your whole idea or proposition on your headline. 

Instead, sell the concept or flavour, and make the reader want to learn more about what you have to offer. 


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Communicates the big idea

What’s in it for them? Ultimately, the headline has to be about the reader’s needs, problems, wants and desires. 

This requires you to think about your reader and how you can offer them something to fix a problem or improve their lifestyle. Address that in your headline.


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Establishes credibility

Authority is one the most powerful ways to gain attention. If possible, use authority in your headline.


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The Bottom Line

If you apply these five essential qualities in your headline-writing, you will make the most of first impressions and avoid being lost in the crowd. 

If you use these qualities consistently, this can give you a serious advantage over your competitors and increase website traffic, and sales and leads.  Put simply, you will get better value for that 99 cents.