Make Your Headlines Irresistible Using “Negatives” – Plus 2 More Power Techniques

Either you write your own content or hire a freelancer. No matter which is the case, you must know what makes for a perfect headline. You’ll be able to craft your own powerful headlines; and practice does bring you closer to perfect. If you outsource, you’ll immediately know how talented your freelancer is at the task.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 out of 10 people will read yours. That’s 80 percent of your audience at least reading, or scanning, your headline. Not bad, but a paltry 20 percent will read, or scan, your precious content; only 2 out of 10.

You can improve on those statistics and write perfect headlines with knowledge and practice.

the-4us-formula

1. Engage your reader

Maybe you’ve seen this before and it is easy to forget with the mountain of information and tasks you face each day. But engaging your audience, each person, is a critical first step. Its importance is intuitively easy to understand.

When you make each person feel like it’s a private, personal conversation, it does two things. It snags and grabs attention – it captivates. Secondly, people desire a feeling of being important, even if it’s only in some small way. You can do that by engaging your readers.

Engagement coupled with content that has a solid call-to-action is a powerful combination.

2. Optimize headline length

The number of words depends of the purpose of the content. Headlines of ad copy are generally longer than blog content and article headlines. For the latter, a good target is around 7 words, plus or minus a few. There are solid reasons for keeping to that word count target.

Much research going back almost a decade has shown that online readers scan rather than read in the traditional linear fashion. And maybe you’ve read that a thousand times. But here’s something maybe you don’t know.

During the scanning process, readers have a natural tendency to notice, and remember, the first and last 3 words. What does that mean for your headline writing?

Carefully craft your headlines to maximize headline real estate; location, location, location. You want important words at the beginning and at the end. So that would include keywords, words that grab attention, numbers, personalized words (you), etc.

3. Use of negatives in headlines

An entire report can be written about this technique, so it’s worth exploring more on your own. Using negative words and overall negative headlines is powerful; but avoid over-doing it on your blog.

Once you understand more about this technique, you’ll begin to see how much it’s used in advertising on major news sites and other places.

Negative headlines are so effective because they play powerfully on basic human insecurities. Such headlines arouse intense curiosity that make readers want to read the first sentence of the first paragraph. And that is the #1 goal of a headline.

Examples:

3 Things Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend Will NEVER Admit

5 Reasons Why You Should AVOID Eating Airline Food

Why You Must STOP Exercising More Than 3 Times a Week

Negative headlines use some kind of negative word; notice the bolded words in the examples, above. Other negative words are: no, without, fail and don’t.

3 Common Reasons for Headline Failure

Headlines can fail for many reasons, but you can greatly improve by avoiding common pitfalls and using techniques that work.

A. Avoid bland, boring headlines without resorting to hype. Bland headlines do absolutely nothing to arouse emotions in the reader.

B. Failure to use specifics. Readers will make an instant judgment about continuing to read or leaving. Specifics help readers determine if your content is worth their time reading.

C. Headlines that lack clarity in any way are almost always instant fails. Avoid ambiguity, confusion, contradiction – you get the point.

Conclusion and a Good Place to Start

 And remember, your headlines must contain words that agree with how your audience thinks; the words that will attract them (or not turn them off). Stop and consider the way your audience thinks – their attitudes, the words they commonly use, etc.

Take your headline writing and internet marketing to higher levels – it’s worth it to find out more.

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