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How to Consistently Write Killer Headlines

Posted on the 21 March 2013 by Elizabethlmaness @elizbethlmaness

How to Write Headlines that Kill It!

One of the hardest challenges for any content marketer (any writer) is coming up with a title for his or her work. 

The headline is the make or break point for any piece of content marketing.

Nail it, and you can possibly rescue a crummy piece. 

how to write headlines for blogs
Blow this opportunity to retain your visitors, and even a piece written by marketing legend Dan Kennedy himself might not save you. 

If you aren't confident in your ability to write outstanding headlines, you're not alone.  In a completely nonscientific poll conducted by reviewing the last few articles on our site and noticing common questions, it seems that writing killer headlines is a huge challenge for most average writers.

(Here's a secret – it's a challenge for every writer; and it's probably the part of the article we collectively spend the most time on, every time.)

Your #1 Source for Writing Irresistible Headlines

Now there are a number of ways to improve your headline writing ability; I'm going to pick on one that is quick and easy, and it doesn't even require you to invest in lots of reference materials.

But we'll get to that in a moment.  I want you to stop for a minute and picture yourself in the checkout line of your local supermarket. It's the after work dinner hour, and wouldn't you know, the store only has 3 checkout lines out of 10 that are actually open. Somehow, in spite of looking like you picked the best lane, you ended up in the slowest possible checkout line.

You're looking all around, trying to find something to do to pass the time (pretend your cell phone battery is dead, okay?), and then you see the rack of tabloids and magazines perched on the racks in your lane. And while you know they're kind of trashy, you just can't help yourself – they're just so compelling!  You've got to see the #1 fat burning secret your doctor doesn't want you to know.  And the shocking discovery that will lower your insurance premium by 35%.  And tips for finding your perfect new car in half the time.

In case you haven't guessed it by now, your #1 secret tool for writing headlines that are totally compelling is to look no further than the tabloids and women's magazines (Cosmo is a great one, believe it or not!). 

Now before you laugh, remember – they pay writers and editors good money to come up with headlines that are simply irresistible. Headlines that convert you from a casual looker to an actual buyer of the publication.

And there's no reason you shouldn't put those same brains to work for you – without having to pay their salaries!

Nearly every tabloid or women's magazine headline follows a formula of one kind or another. It might be centered around different topics and hooks – future knowledge, how to be younger, smarter, or sexier, or  other problems and fears. But the bottom line is this – those headlines are a gold mine of ideas that you should keep in your swipe file (ideas that you've swiped from other great writers, ideas you'll tweak and make your own). 

Do you have any magazines nearby?  We're going to play with these formulas. Leave a comment below with your niche and a headline from a tabloid or woman's magazine, and we can all get in on the fun of reworking it for your own content marketing. Can't wait to hear from you! 

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