After Writing 87 Headlines In a Day, Dissecting 7 To Give You a Framework
How to start with an idea & end up with a great headline quickly
It was a hell of a day. Phew!
As with any other writer/content creator, writing a headline is critical to me while creating content. I spend a lot of time deciding the headline because a lot hangs in the balance.
I am working for a client who has made it big in the SEO business. Now, he wants to start his SEO website and sell a course. I am creating the content for this website.
Before getting started with the content, we sat down to deliberate on our target readers. There were three:
- CEOs/Founders/Senior Management — to get more insight
- Experienced SEO Professionals — looking to be updated
- Freshers — starting their careers in SEO
Next was creating the content for the target audiences.
To get a better direction, he gave me a framework of headlines (30 of them). My job was to frame the headlines for them.
The objective of this story:
After spending the better part of the day framing so many headlines, I thought it would be great to put it out as a story.
How to start with an idea & end up with a great headline.
Every headline starts with a basic idea, and gradually as you keep adding/changing/rearranging/deleting things, it starts taking a better shape, just like tasting a recipe till you get the desired flavor.
I have picked up some to elaborate on.
His idea: Why hiring SEO Experts is difficult for CEOs, and yet how to find one?
So, this is a CEO/Founder with limited or no knowledge of SEO and has to hire an SEO Expert for the company. How does he take the decision? What should he know about?
- How To Hire The Best SEO Expert Even If You Are Not An Expert
- N Things You Should Know Before Hiring Your SEO Expert
Think from the point of view of your reader. Be the person. Put the headline as a voice of his head. And then, identify the pain point as a north star to reach your headline.
His idea: How Is this Doctor making $200000 per year with zero costs?
The Doctor was his client. He wants to share the story as an SEO strategy.
- This Doctor Makes $200k With ZERO Spending On SEO. This is How.
- Possible To Earn $200k With ZERO-cost SEO Strategies? This Doctor Does.
Greed. Earn $200k, and upon that, zero spending? All ears. The finer tips:
- Placing the significant number as close to the beginning.
- Accentuating the ZERO
- Including Verbs like 'makes' and 'earns' also helps.
- You may twist grammar a bit to control the length of the headline. Like I omitted 'Is it' at the start.
A success story always sells better than a list of do-this and do-that. So banking on one is a great choice.
His idea: This thought process changed my SEO career from employee to Boss.
- How My SEO Career Changed From Being An Employee To a Boss?
- From a $100 Employee To a $2 Million Boss: How I Changed My Destiny With SEO & You Can Too
My favorite is the second one — a clear message, a rags-to-riches success story, drastic numbers to get the attention, and the how of it.
The headline not only makes a strong statement about changing destiny but also holds a promise. And everyone needs a bit of that.
His idea: How an SEO career would look like?
- A Detailed Career Path Of an SEO Specialist In 2023: From a Guy with 15 Years Experience
- Should You Choose SEO As a Career & How It Is In 2023
The target reader is a fresher who is to start a career. The dominant emotion will be apprehension, doubt, and the desire for a promising future.
So, when a guy with 15 years tells them what it is like, they would surely want to know. Credibility is what will sell better here.
The headline should answer his doubts, and when that happens, the reader will resonate and click the story.
Again, look at it from the reader's point of view.
His idea: I earned in making $5,00,0000 affiliate revenue.
- I Earned $5 Million In Affiliate Revenue Effortlessly. Here's What I Learned.
- Greed and benefit. The attractive number is a big plus.
- There is no suspense. The answer is right there.
- Effortlessly — high on rewards, low on the grinds is a tempting option
- And sharing of knowledge — reader benefit.
The best headlines compel readers to read. And to make them read, it has to move them in some way — emotionally.
His idea: My strategy helped to increase traffic by 300%.
- I Increased My Website Traffic By 300% — My 3-Step Plan.
- My Traffic Increased By 300% With 3 Simple Steps. No, I'm Not Joking.
Note the juxtaposition of 300% and 3-Step. So much with so little. People get hooked on the prospect of getting something real quick.
And I tend to go for puns, fun, and twists in my headlines. It not only lightens the mood but also makes it a tad interesting.
Never shy away from experimenting. Give yourself some leeway to play around, no matter what you learn and hear.
His idea: How to identify good SEOs in the ocean of fake SEOs.
- N Signs To Know If Your SEO 'Expert' Is a Cheat
- Expert Or Cheat: Which SEO Are You Paying For?
Do you know what's the most important word here? 'Paying for'.
The moment we come across this, we cannot resist checking. Are we getting swindled? Are we getting the right deal? Is there a better deal?
Many marketers have used this tactic to provoke their readers/ customers. And this has always worked.
I always say — writing headlines is an art. It needs more and more practice to perfect the art. It's just that. There's no prodigy-type quality involved here.
Every good headline will have one thing in common — a hook.
Your job is to find that hook. It's like trying different numbers till you hear the 'click' and the door opens.
Till then, keep trying the combinations.