5 Headline Templates That Grab Readers

This is a guest post by Ray Edwards. He is is a marketing strategist, copywriter, speaker, and author. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.

Your readers decide whether your blog post is worth their time within a few seconds. Most of that decision is based on the post title (or “headline”).

Some of the highest paying work in the copywriting business is creating headlines for magazine covers and tabloids. Think about it. Aren’t you sometimes at least tempted to pick up those magazines in the grocery store line? That’s the power of a great headline at work.

Effective headlines tend to follow a pattern. Here are five headline templates you can use that should have more people reading your posts and commenting on your blog.

  1. The “How-To” Headline.

    The key to making this particular headline work is that you need to tie it to a benefit your reader cares about (related to your content, of course). Examples:

    How to Write a Blog Post Every Day
    How to Land More Clients As a Freelancer

  2. The “Transactional” Headline.

    This headline is all about the promise. When you truly have “Wow!” level content, this headline that will grab attention. Examples:

    Give Me 30 Minutes And I’ll Give You More Blog Traffic
    Try These 5 Tactics for a Week, And Be Twice As Productive

  3. The “Reason-Why” Headline.

    Robert Cialdini cites the power of the word “because” in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. His research showed that simply adding the word “because” to a request makes it more likely you’ll get what you’re asking for.

    Advertising copywriters have known this secret for a long time. Decades earlier, John E. Kennedy wrote a modest little book called Reason Why Advertising, which has become a classic in the field. Use the power of the “reason why” in your blog headlines. Examples:

    Why Your Blog Posts Get Ignored, And How to Fix That
    7 Reasons You Should Be Using Social Media In Your Marketing

  4. The “Probing Question” Headline.

    With this kind of headline, you ask a question that creates an intense desire to know the answer. Be careful with these headlines. If you ask a question like “Do You Want to Know My Blogging Secret?” You might get a discouraging answer, such as, “No.”

    The kind of question you want to ask is one that really evokes strong curiosity, or taps into a problem you know your reader has. Examples:

    Why Don’t Doctors Get Sick?
    Do You Wish More People Bought Your Book?

  5. The “If-Then” Headline.

    With this headline, you contrast something that’s easy for your reader to do with the major benefit of your post. Examples:

    If You Can Send and Receive E-mail, You Can Build a Platform
    If You Can Follow a Recipe, You Can Write Better Headlines

One final piece of advice. I have found the ultimate secret to writing really good headlines … is to write a lot of really bad ones. The point is not to stop with just one or two attempts; write lots of possible headlines for your blog post before you finally settle on one.

Using these five headline templates, you should have more people reading your posts and commenting on your blog.

Question: What kind of headlines have worked best for you?