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The Science Behind Copywriting Headline Formulas That Grab Attention

The Science Behind Copywriting Headline Formulas That Grab Attention

If you’re in the world of copywriting, you know that headlines are a big deal. A great headline can mean the difference between a reader clicking through to read your stuff, or just skipping it altogether. In this article I’ll introduce you to some copywriting headline formulas that you can use to make your headlines super compelling and get readers clicking. I’ll show you the most popular copywriting headline formulas and why they work so well. Plus, I’ll throw in some bonus tips for using them effectively.

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By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a whole bunch of tools to craft killer headlines that will make your content stand out and get noticed. So, let’s dive in!

“How to” headline formulas 

If you’re looking for a headline formula that’s both effective and versatile, “how to” headlines are a great place to start. “How to” headlines are popular because they promise readers a solution or an answer to a problem they might have, which is why they tend to generate a lot of clicks.

Here are a few examples of “how to” headlines and why they work:

  1. “How to Lose Weight in 30 Days: A Step-by-Step Guide“: This headline works because it addresses a common problem and offers a clear solution in a specific time frame. It’s also a step-by-step guide, which implies that it will be easy to follow.
  2. How to Make Money Online: 10 Proven Strategies”: This headline works because it promises a benefit (making money) and offers a specific number (10 strategies) that piques readers’ curiosity.
  3. “How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Science-Backed Techniques”: This headline works because it offers a benefit (improving memory), and cites scientific evidence that reinforces its credibility.

When using “how to” copywriting headline formulas, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be specific: Specificity can make your headlines more compelling, especially when you’re offering a solution to a problem. Use numbers or specific time frames to create a sense of urgency or added value.
  2. Focus on benefits: Make sure to emphasize the benefit of the solution you’re offering in the headline. This will make it more enticing to readers.
  3. Use action words: Using verbs in your headlines can create a sense of action and urgency. For example, “How to Get More Followers on Instagram in 5 Easy Steps.”

Number headline formulas 

Number headlines are a popular headline formula that has been proven to be effective in grabbing readers’ attention. They work because they promise specific and valuable information that can be quickly consumed.

Here are a few examples of number copywriting headline formulas and why they work:

  1. “10 Surprising Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate”: This headline works because it offers a specific number (10) of benefits, which piques readers’ curiosity, and the topic of dark chocolate is something that many people are interested in (or is that just me?). 
  2. “5 Easy DIY Projects to Refresh Your Home Decor”: This headline works because it offers a specific number (5) of easy DIY projects that readers can do to refresh their home decor.
  3. “The Top 20 Movies to Watch on Netflix Right Now”: This headline works because it offers a specific number (20) of movies that readers can watch on Netflix, which is something many people are also interested in.

When using number headline formulas, make sure to incorporate the following:

  1. Use odd numbers: Odd numbers tend to be more effective than even numbers, as they are perceived as more specific and credible.
  2. Keep the number relevant: Make sure the number you use is relevant to the content and the audience. Don’t use a random number just for the sake of it.
  3. Use descriptive words: Use descriptive words to make the number more enticing. For example, “10 Essential Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Your Backyard”.

Use questions effectively  

Question headlines are another popular headline formula that can be very effective in piquing readers’ curiosity and drawing them into the content. They work by tapping into readers’ desire for information and answers.

Here are a few examples of question headlines and why they work:

  1. “Are You Making These Common Grammar Mistakes?”: This headline works because it asks a question that is relevant to many people (grammar mistakes) and implies that the content will provide solutions.
  2. “What’s the Best Way to Boost Your Metabolism?”: This headline works because it asks a question a lot of people are interested in (boosting metabolism) and implies that the content will provide an answer.
  3. “Is Your Business Prepared for the Next Economic Downturn?”: This headline works because it asks a question that many business owners may be concerned about, and implies that the content will offer advice.

When using question headline formulas, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Use open-ended questions: Open-ended questions are more effective than closed-ended questions because they encourage readers to think and engage with the content.
  2. Use the “why” question: The “why” question is effective because it encourages readers to consider the reasoning behind something, which can lead to insights and new information.

“Secret” headline formulas 

“Secret” headline formulas can be very effective in piquing readers’ interest and persuading them to click through. They work by offering readers an exclusive or insider look at something that they wouldn’t normally have access to.

Here are a few examples of “secret” headlines and why they work:

  1. “The Secret to Perfectly Grilled Steak”: This headline works because it offers a specific benefit (perfectly grilled steak) and implies that the information being offered is exclusive and valuable.
  2. “The Secret to Landing Your Dream Job: Insider Tips from Hiring Managers”: This headline works because it offers a specific benefit (landing your dream job) and implies that the information being offered is from a reputable source.
  3. “The Secret to Effortless Style: A Celebrity Stylist’s Insider Tips”: This headline works because it offers a specific benefit (effortless style) and again implies that the information being offered is exclusive and from a reputable source (a celebrity stylist).

When using “secret” headline formulas, be sure to use descriptive words that make the “secret” more enticing to read. 

Emotional headline formulas 

Emotions are powerful. They have the ability to influence how people perceive and react to things, including headlines. Emotional headlines tap into readers’ feelings, making them more likely to read on and engage with your content.

There are various emotional headline formulas that copywriters can use to evoke different emotions in their readers. For example:

  1. Fear: “Warning: This [Product/Service] Could [Negative Outcome]”. Fear is a strong motivator, and headlines that tap into it can be very effective.
  2. Curiosity: “What This [Product/Service] Can Do Will Shock You”. Curiosity can be a powerful driving force in getting people to click on a headline.
  3. Urgency: “Don’t Wait – Try [Product/Service] Today”. Urgency can create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) that compels readers to take action.
  4. Excitement: “Get Ready for [Exciting Thing] with [Product/Service]”. Excitement can make readers feel enthusiastic about what you’re offering.
  5. Empathy: “Are You Tired of [Problem]? We Understand”. Empathy can make readers feel understood and can build a sense of trust.

The key to using emotional headline formulas effectively is to make sure the emotion is relevant to the content and audience. If you use an emotional headline just for the sake of it, or if the emotion doesn’t match the content, it can come across as manipulative and turn readers off.

It’s also important to remember that emotions are subjective. What might be emotionally resonant for one person might not be for another. So it’s crucial to understand your audience and what emotions are likely to motivate them. This can involve doing research, testing different headlines, and analyzing the results to see what works best.

Storytelling headline formulas 

Storytelling is a powerful tool in copywriting, and using it in your headlines can be very effective. Storytelling headlines work by tapping into readers’ desire for narrative and emotional connection.

Here are a few examples of storytelling headlines and why they work:

  1. “How One Woman Turned Her Love of Baking into a Successful Business”: This headline works because it tells a story that many people can relate to (turning a hobby into a business), and implies that the content will provide insights and inspiration.
  2. “The Incredible Journey of a Homeless Dog Who Found a Loving Family”: This headline works because it tells a heartwarming story that appeals to readers’ emotions.
  3. “The Surprising Story of How a Simple Idea Revolutionized the Travel Industry”: This headline works because it implies that the content will tell an interesting and surprising story that inspires readers.

When using storytelling headline formulas, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Use specific details: Using specific details in your headline can make the story more compelling and create a sense of reality.
  2. Focus on the emotional connection: Make sure to emphasize the emotional connection in the story, and how it can inspire or resonate with readers.
  3. Use strong verbs: Using strong verbs in your headline can create a sense of action and drama, making the story more compelling.

Wrapping it up 

We’ve covered several headline formulas that can be effective in copywriting. 

It’s important to remember that the headline is the first thing readers see, and it can make or break the success of your content. A great headline can grab readers’ attention, increase engagement, and even go viral. So taking the time to craft effective headlines is essential for any copywriter.

Experimenting with different headline formulas can help you find what works best for your content and your audience. It’s important to test and analyze your results to see what resonates with your readers. By following the tips and formulas we’ve covered in this article, you can create compelling headlines that connect with readers and drive success in your copywriting efforts.

Guest Author: Rachael J. Low is a freelance copywriter and editor who works with a number of marketing agencies producing high-quality copywriting for their clients. You can find out more about her services at https://www.rachaeljlow.com

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