Headline Writing 101: The Dos and Donts of Writing Engaging Headlines

August 16th, 2013 by
Antique Typewriter

Headline writing is an imperative aspect of marketing your business. Think of headlines as the bait that hooks the fish: the flashier the lure or the tastier the worm, the more fish you’ll catch. You want your readers to take the bait, because once they do, they’ll be led down a path to your content where they can find useful information about your business. Without the bait, how are you to attract readers to your content?

We can all agree that great headlines are essential in the marketing process, but even the best of us struggles with writer’s block from time to time when trying to think up a title that is both relevant and captivating. Because of the importance we place of writing quality headlines, we tend to occasionally freeze up when confronted with the task of doing so. Watch the video clip below from Kopy Writing Kourse to better understand the dos and don’ts of headline writing.

Why Headlines?

Why are headlines so important? Most readers use headlines to decide whether or not to read your article, and on average, about eight out of ten people will only read headline copy, while only two out of ten will read the rest. When you’re marketing your MLM business, a great headline may be your only chance at gaining readership and engaging people in your business venture.

Another reason why headlines are important is that they can direct how people on how to interact with your content. A reader can be persuaded one way or the other within the context of just the headline, and they can view the material of the marketing piece differently depending on how influential a role it had on the reader.

The Three Types of Audiences in Headline Writing

There are three different types of audiences that you can market your headlines to: the competitive, the benefit driven, and the those seeking inspiration. Just remember these three factors (abbreviated CBI) when you’re stuck trying to turn a good headline into a great one.

C. The Competitive Audience

The competitive audience is made up of those that favor competition and are generally more aggressive when it comes to business. This audience is interested in how your product is better than the competition, and why they should purchase your product over any other. Think superlatives when writing these headlines: highest, best, most, etc.

B. The Benefit Driven

This audience wants to know what’s in it for them. They are usually swayed by not only the ease and convenience that the product offers, but how purchasing the product will improve their quality of life or increase the output of their own business.

I. Inspiration

This is the type of audience that favors inspiration, or favors a “you-can-do-it-too” type of attitude. They want to know that the product isn’t just for industry leaders or innovators who have previous knowledge of the equipment; it can be used by anyone, no matter what amount of experience or skill level they possess. Think second person narrative when writing these headlines and use “you” to personalize your message.

What Not to Write

The video from Kopy Writing Kourse offers some words of caution when writing headlines. The first is to avoid “trick” headlines that are meant to get people to enter your content page, but have little or no relevance to your message or product. Essentially, all you’re doing is tricking people into thinking they’re opening a page about one topic (i.e. pop culture, fashionable news stories), but instead they’re brought to a page that is completely different. These may seem creative and fun at first, but they are generally considered unprofessional and you risk losing credibility with your market base. You could be left switching target markets often because you’ve lost the trust of the ones you’ve already hit.

The second word of caution is to not talk about your product in your headline. This is because people don’t care what your product is, all they care about is what your product can do for them. Unfortunately, the limited space of a headline doesn’t allow you to write all of the benefits your product has to offer, so you can save that for the content. But do remember to keep your headlines relevant to your content.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines!

When stuck trying to think of great headlines for your content, remember these words of advice to get the gears shifting. In this ever-changing world where technological advances are rapidly growing but our attention spans are shrinking, remember that a headline writing is a chance to captivate and inspire in just a few short words. For more tips on writing headlines, click here!

J. Audrey Hoy is the CatalystMLM team’s resident wordsmith. With a master’s of fine arts degree from New York University, J. Audrey has served as an Adjunct Instructor of Creative Writing at NYU and she currently works as the Content Editor and contributor at CatalystMLM. Originally hailing from the Chicagoland area, J. Audrey has previously resided in Iowa City, Brooklyn and currently lives in Burlington, Vermont. She spends her free time reading novels, writing, exploring the Burlington area and enjoying the outdoors.

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