Article by: MaryEllen | Monday, October 2, 2017

By MaryEllen Tribby

The process for writing your headline is completely different than the process for writing any other part of your sales letter. Your headline is the single most important sentence of the whole page. It pulls more weight than any other sentence and deserves a lot of special attention.

Your headline’s job is to get the reader to continue reading. It catches their attention and takes you from having just three seconds of attention to about 60 seconds to sell your audience.

How do you write a headline that captures the hearts and minds of your audience?

Here’s my easy five-step process that works!

#1 Write 100 Headlines, Then Choose One

Most world class copywriters write 50 to 100 headlines for any given sales letter they’re tasked with writing. Only after completing all of these headlines do they choose the one they finally use.

Each and every one of these 100 headlines is the fruit of many hours of thought and creativity. Just because you’re writing a lot of them doesn’t mean that less effort is put into each one. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite.

Print copywriters first invented this headline process, because a test would easily cost you upwards of five figures. Unfortunately people think that because this is online, it’s ok to put less care into writing headlines since testing is “free.” Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Whether online or offline, if you want your business to succeed you need A+ copy. An integral part of A+ copy is an A+ headline. Follow the process and your headlines will scream!.

#2 Use a Combination of Original and Swiped Concepts

If you want to write great copy, having a great swipe file is essential. Inside your swipe file should be dozens of potential ideas for attention catching headlines.

Talented copywriters generally write headlines using both swiped concepts and their own original ideas. Craft your headlines from both and objectively choose the best one later.

(There is a big different between using swipe files and just copying someone else’s headline. Swiping means using the headline for inspiration. Perhaps you like the adjectives that are used or the format of the way the words are arranged. Copying is using a headline exactly as it is written. Swiping for inspiration is good and effective. Copying out of laziness is bad.)

Headlines come in many formats: Newsy, benefit-driven, shocking, factual, storytelling, comparisons, etc. By using swipe file ideas, you’ll come up with headlines in formats that you may not have come up with on your own.

#3 Space Out the Writing

Write a few headlines in the beginning, when you’re just starting the letter. Then write a few more as you’re writing the body copy. Finally, write a few after you’ve completed everything else.

Throughout the whole process, your mind will be working through the copy in different ways. You’ll have different ideas at different stages of the copy writing process. Use that to your advantage by taking down your best ideas at any given time through the whole process.

#4 Read Them Aloud

Read your favorite headlines aloud and see how they flow. Often you will identify misplaced words when you hear the headline out loud.

You might also be able to use a headline as a sub-headline, or a second part of the headline. This process is an easy way to add more juice and substance to a bland or boring headline and keep the copy flowing.

#5 Selecting the Final Headline

Once you’ve written out a wide range of headlines, let it sit for a few days. This will help sever any emotional preferences you may have attached from the writing process.

Then start cutting the headlines out. Remember, in the end only one will be the winner. Generally if you start from 100, you’ll be able to get it down to 5-10 pretty easily. From there the choices get a lot tougher. In the end, you’ll have to cut out some really good headlines until you really have just the best of the best left.

If you’re getting a lot of traffic, you may have the luxury of being able to split test your headlines. If so, then you may be lucky enough to be able to use two instead of one headline.

This is the process that many top copywriters use to write their headlines. Use swipe files and originality to write your headlines. Write 50-100, never all at the same time.

Finally, cut them down until you have one A+ headline left that snags your reader and pulls them into the copy you have written.

 

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