Your headline is the key to your page – any page. They attract attention, entice the reader to keep reading, and in today’s Twitter world, they provide ‘sharability’ too. Headlines are all-important when it comes to being a successful marketing copywriter.
Where does the website copywriting come in?
Having something to say or sell is not enough. You need to stop your audience in their tracks and get them to say ‘this is for me, I’m going to keep reading.’
You can do this by addressing a fundamental problem, or pain point, for your target audience. Their goal is probably the desire to reduce the pain, or problem, and to do so easily.
How to write headlines
Let’s say your target audience is faced with time-management issues (the pain). They never have enough time (the problem), and they want more of it to do things that are important to them (the desire).
There are many headline formulas that can help you write a great headline, but the essential techniques are:
- state the outcome of achieving their desire: by stating the outcome, you are focussing away from the problem, and thus relieving the audience’s anxiety. Reducing anxiety is a key motivator to keep reading.
e.g. Free up your time today, and focus on what’s most important
- appeal to their need to improve: everyone feels like there’s room to improve. We all want to be better than we are today. ‘How-to’ style headlines work really well here
e.g. How to manage your time like a pro
- pose a question that touches on the problem: Asking a question that is burning in the mind of your audience shows that you understand them. The fact that you might have the answer to the question persuades them to pay attention and keep reading.
e.g. Feel like you’re always running out of time?
- add a ‘reward’ or benefit that relieves the pain: This technique can be combined with any of the above, or stand on its own. The reward or benefit needs to solve the problem for the reader. This one is a classic direct mail technique.
e.g. Get 5 free time-management e-books just for signing up to ABCo
Whatever you choose, your page needs to support the headline. This is why so many copywriters choose to write the headline first, giving them a direction for the rest of the content.
Coming next in the website copywriting series: home pages Part 2 – Sub-heads: Go deep