How to Write Headlines Your Prospective Clients Can’t Resist

by Michelle Salater on February 13, 2012


In the cluttered world of online marketing, sharing, and networking, we have a limited window of opportunity (commonly called a “headline”) to win over prospective clients by convincing them to click on our links.

Here’s how you can start crafting headlines that will entice your prospective clients to click their way into the palm of your hand.

7 Strategies for Creating Killer Headlines

  • Optimize. With a little keyword research, you can find out which words and phrases your prospective clients are searching and determine which of those you want to optimize for. While keyword density may not have an impact on a reader’s likelihood of clicking on a headline, SEO is your ticket in the door: if your headlines are not optimized, your prospective clients will never see them!
  • Spark curiosity. We’ve all seen those “weird old tip” ads on websites, and no matter how web savvy we are, there’s a part of us that’s dying to know about those tips. Get your readers’ curiosity flowing by promising to reveal something you know they want. This post, for example, offers the tantalizing bait of more click-throughs from clients.
  • Report. If a headline reports news, prospective clients are more likely to click on it. Even if you don’t break stories yourself, you can “create” news by repackaging a story so that it’s relevant to your industry or your prospective clients in a new or different way.
  • Connect. Hopefully, you’ve conducted extensive research into your prospective clients, so you’re familiar with their hopes, fears, joys, and pain points. Connect with these in your headlines. Tell them how your information relates to them and will affect their lives. Using second person pronouns (“you,” “your,” “yours”) is an effective part of establishing this connection.
  • Be concrete. Visit and you’ll notice that almost every headline includes a number. Numbers are one of the easiest ways to be concrete in headlines, and they offer the bonus of promising a list-type article, which online readers adore. You can also be specific with time cues (“today,” “tomorrow,” “30 minutes,”) and with spatial cues (“right next to you,” “next door,” “down the street,” etc.). For example, the headline “Office Equipment Found to Contain Flu Germs” is less enticing than “Your Right-Click Button Is Making You Sick.”
  • Make assumptions. One of the beautiful things about selling to a niche market is that you can get a pretty good idea about what they’re going through mentally at any given time of the day, week, or year. Tap into this knowledge by appealing to those emotions and mental states in your headlines.
  • Revise! As you master the art of creating irresistible headlines, you’ll probably make several tweaks to the titles you use for various marketing materials. This is normal—and important. Revising is how you get from an okay headline to an excellent, link-driving one. And remember to have a pair of fresh eyes read over your finished product to prevent unintended double meanings!

 What do you do to draw readers into your online materials?

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If you like this post, you might also like:

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  2. The 5 Essential Components of Results-Driven Sales Copy
  3. How to Find Your Authentic Voice (And Use it to Win Over Clients!)
  4. Press Release Writing 101: How to Write an Effective News Release

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