6 quick tips for writing headlines that hook readers

The-Saturdays-headlinesIt can be a real challenge to write an effective headline.

If you want your readers to do something such as buying a product or subscribing to a newsletter you need to convince them right away.

And the best place to start doing that is with the very first word of your headline.
If you are new to the business of writing headlines, here are 6 tips to get you started.

1.Include a deadline

It’s often the case that people take action when they are fast running out of time.

That’s why it’s important to create a sense of urgency with your headline by telling your readers that your offer only stands up to a certain date.

You can also make it a do-or-die offer; if they let this opportunity slip them by, it will be gone forever.
But be careful if you decide to use this type of headline. Make sure you that you withdraw your offer at the stated time.
And if you extend the deadline, have a good explanation ready because otherwise you could find yourself losing credibility.

2.Use Numbers

The advantage of using numbers is that they are easy to remember – the headline of this article is one example of that.

They also sound impressive. A fairly bland headline such as Tips for belly fat can be substantially improved by adding a number, for example 8, so it becomes 8 tips for losing your belly fat.
It encourages people to read on because they know they have eight tips to look forward to in a single article.

3.Cater to customers’ self-interest

If you have something to offer to your readers, something they need and in exchange for what you’re going to ask them to do, make it immediately clear with your headline.

When people start reading something online and they aren’t actively seeking information, they want to know what they’re going to get if they continue reading and they want to know what it is right away.

4.Simple and powerful words work best

Website copy, and indeed print ads, needs to be simple if you are going to catch the attention of readers who are often quickly scanning for what grabs their interest.

So, it stands to reason that, as headlines have to be simple as well.

Forget about using long and difficult words or detailed descriptions of your products and services.
They are irrelevant if no one understands them. Instead aim for words that inspire action and call strong images immediately to mind.

For example, the headline Give Your Home Business Longevity can be improved if you replace passive-sounding words with forceful ones so that the headline now reads Make Your Home Business Thrive. Which headline do you think has the greatest impact?

5.Keep it short

This is something that is closely linked to the above tip. Online readers especially scan what they read so try to lessen the use of particles, prepositions, linking verbs, and other words that won’t make a difference to your readers.

6.Dont Try Too Hard

Naturally, funny and witty headlines are better but trying too hard could backfire on you. If there’s no way to make a headline funny or clever then leave it simple. As long as you get the key benefits you’ll have done the most important thing you need to do.

A final word…..

Once you have finished writing your headline, it’s important to review and revise. You may think you have written the perfect headline made a perfect headline upon typing the last word, but give it a minute or two and youll be able to view it more objectively. Good luck on writing those headlines!

Want to engage more people through your content? Here’s one word that will work wonders


As a business owner, you know how important it is to engage with potential customers.

Marketing through content – whether that’s blog posts, videos or social media posts – is definitely a great way to do it and it’s no surprise that it’s popularity has grown in recent years.

But you may have faced a problem that many business owners face when attempting to create content – they end up sounding like business owners talking to other business owners, rather than people talking to people.

Content marketing can really work for brands because it creates two-way conversation through the channels it is distributed through such as social media.

You educate and inform readers about a product or service, respond to potential customer feedback and use a range of tools to measure how engaged they are.

The key to creating marketing content that resonates with and engages an audience, gets your message across and gets people to notice your call to action you want your call to is to write for your audience.

In other words, rather than randomly throwing down your thoughts down on paper, think about the people who are going to be reading your content.

Rather than randomly throwing down your thoughts down on paper, think about the people who are going to be reading your content.

What are their biggest problems or desires? What makes them tick? What the values that are most important to them?

It’s advice that’s often repeated by writing experts and marketing professionals.

But for many new to content creation, it’s easier said than done.

Even after you have spent time getting a good idea of what matters to members of your audience, how do you begin crafting copy that engages and serves that them?

A great starting point when planning content that engages your target market is to keep in mind one word – you!

You is a very powerful word when creating content.

It makes a reader feel like you are talking to them – and that’s important if you are trying to make a connection with potential customers.

Your readers (your potential customers or clients) have chosen to spend time reading what you have produced for a reason.

They read because they want to gain something from it – maybe get solutions to a long standing health or DIY problem for example. Or get information that will help a situation they are facing much easier to deal with or learn a new skill.

Content that is written form the company’s perspective and uses words like our or we never answers the WIFM QUESTION ie what’s in it for me?

Readers (usually) want to find out how what you are writing can benefit THEM.

You is such a powerful one because it addresses an individual reader directly

Think about it. How many times have you read something or lost interest in a conversation because the writer or speaker seems overly self-obsessed?

When you’re writing blog posts or creating other types of content such as slideshare presentations or videos, using the word You is such a powerful one because it addresses an individual reader directly about the benefits they may be seeking or a solution to a particular problem.

Readers (usually) don’t care about how great your product is; they do care about how great it will be to them.

Use the words you and your to make your reader feel how much it is going to benefit THEM.

An example of this is when I recently wrote some website content for a client who wanted to market a weight loss e book.

It was a single page website from which the book could be downloaded.

It was a project the author had spent quite a bit of time researching and putting together, but it just wasn’t selling.

I re-worked the copy and thought up some new ideas we could introduce but it still didn’t improve sales.


I then decided to create two version of the sales page using some split-testing software.

The first version included the copy I had re-written; the second one I changed by working in the words you and yours into the headline and body text.

So, in the first version there was ‘With our health eBook amazing weight loss results can be achieved’. In the second I wrote ‘Are you tired of diets and weight loss systems that don’t work? With your copy of this e-book you can start to achieve amazing results.’

The sales figures that followed were amazing – they increased by nearly 60 per cent.

A huge jump.

If your content is designed to directly address the most pressing questions your readers have, the chances are high that you will create meaningful engagements and conversations and thus keep readers coming back to your site.

A powerful way to get to this point is to think seriously about the word you when creating content.

PS As you may or may not have noticed, I have tried to keep you engaged with post by using the word you/your over 30 times (including this sentence).

I would love to know your thoughts on what makes content engaging.

How clothing giant Gap won customers’ hearts…..and then their wallets

092530-gap-ad-featuring-sikh-designer-and-actor-waris-ahluwalia-defaced[1]Why is it that some companies have more success in attracting new consumers and retaining them as loyal supporters than others?

Speak to any number of business experts and they’ll hone in on factors such as a product’s design, it’s marketing campaign, it’s packaging or it’s price.
But a recent ad by clothing giant Gap reveals a factor that can be just as important if not more important than the above.

And that is emotional connection.

Last year, the company featured a diverse range of models for its Make Love holiday season.

The ad featured artist and filmmaker Quentin Jones and Waris Ahluwalia, a celebrated jewellery designer and model who has been featured in several best dressed lists and is a highly regarded figure in US fashion circles.

Reflect the target audience – and see their support grow

Gap often features a diverse range of models in its marketing campaigns and poster ads.

But in an industry where you hardly ever see Sikh models, Ahluwalia’s appearance in the ad was something that set it apart from the crowd.

It also embraced how Sikh Americans wanted to see themselves. A Sikh model could be a mainstream fashion model and wear a turban.
Having had a long history of either being stereotyped or excluded from advertising, the mere fact of inclusion was enough to push the emotional buttons of fashion conscious young US Sikhs.

Even more remarkable was Gap’s response when it got news of the fact that one of its poster ads had been defaced by racist graffiti.

Gap immediately changed its Twitter banner photo to one featuring Jones and Ahluwalia.
And the Facebook page “GAP, Thank you for featuring a Sikh model in your ‘Make Love’ campaign” was born along with an engaged audience of new consumers.

Recognize trends – and stay ahead of the game

It’s an example of one major company responding to a trend that has been talked about in the US and the UK for well over a decade – the growth in the numbers of diverse consumers.

And not just ethnically diverse – we’re talking about the range of markets that include older consumers, people with disabilities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The spending power of this market is huge.

Prior to the 1960’s most marketing ignored ethnic minority groups and concentrated on the vast buying power of larger demographic groups.

Recent figures highlight why that’s no longer a wise business move.

Figures like £280 billion (the disposable income of older consumers) £32 billion (the estimated disposable income of the UK’s ethnic minority market), £70 billion (the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender market) mean that this is a trend that cannot be ignored for long.
Whatever product or service you offer, an opportunity exists to follow Gap’s example and break into these under-tapped markets where there is significant consumer spending power.

Create strong emotional connections through your marketing

By recognizing these differences and tailoring your marketing message to reflect how these consumers see themselves you can create a strong emotional connection and tap into the buying power of these underserved and under tapped markets.

In these tough economic times that could well be a smart move.

But targeting diverse consumer segments is an idea that makes some folks just plain uncomfortable.
There are those who are of the view that this is more about ethics or doing the right thing than it is about solid business sense.

It’s prompted a number of passionate debates among marketing folk.

Should companies really develop marketing campaigns that reflect the consumer needs and aspirations of groups they might not have thought about before?

Is it right to target ads at older consumers for example who are often ignored in many a major campaign?

Is it worth the effort of a smaller company to translate its marketing brochure into the language spoken by a target market in a bid to boost sales?

My answer –absolutely!

And why?

Well, the rise of diverse consumer groups has prompted the need to take seriously the idea of micro targeting – identifying smaller subgroups of people who may have a shared interest or lifestyle and communicating with them regularly about their individual needs and wants.

A one size fits all marketing approach to communicating with and engaging customers is a thing of the past.

And as Gap’s success with the Waris Ahluwalia ad has shown, it has never been more critical to acknowledge it.

Companies who don’t could be see their marketing effortd achieve less than desired results.