A professional-grade headline gets noticed, clicked, and shared.
Great headlines are, above all else, compelling.
Great headlines dominate your attention, paralyzing you with curiosity.
The human psyche is a slave to great headlines. They're by far the most important words on the page.
The key is understanding your audience.
Great headlines speak to specific people, assuaging their fears or supporting their goals.
Headlines aren't written, they're crafted.
Step by step. Great headlines are:
1. USEFUL: What's in it for the audience?
2. UNIQUE: Is this unlike anything the audience has ever seen?
3. ULTRA-SPECIFIC: Can the audience self-identify?
4. URGENT: Can the audience wait to realize this value?
In fact, that's the frame I used to craft this article's headline.
To demonstrate the process, I've deconstructed its creation below:
As a starting point, I wrote down the bare bones of what this article is about: Crafting headlines.
Then I began running through the steps:
Step 1: Make it USEFUL
"How to Craft Headlines"
Starting a headline with "Learn," "Discover," or, in this case, "How to," instantly indicates value.
It's that simple.
Step 2: Make it UNIQUE
"How to Craft Professional-Grade Headlines"
A "unique" headline is original. It stands out, sparking readers' interest and hooking them in.
There are plenty of articles about headline writing on the Internet, but none of them mention "professional-grade" outcomes.
Step 3: Make it ULTRA-SPECIFIC
"4 Steps to Crafting Professional-Grade Headlines"
You can add specificity to a headline by breaking down its structure.
For example, I replaced "How" with "4 Steps," which is more specific and descriptive.
Step 4: Make it URGENT
"4 Steps to Crafting Professional-Grade Headlines That Won't Be Ignored"
There are two ways to write an "urgent" headline:
1. Make it deadline-driven: "Only 14 tickets left..."
2. Make it consequence-driven: "If you don't fix X, then Y will happen..."
The addition of "That Won't Be Ignored" highlighted the consequences of inaction by the audience.
A "4-U" headline is longer, but it's also more effective.
It's big and heavy, packing a punch. It's also an effective way to set your content apart.