3 Ways to Write Better Headlines

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How to write eye-catchy headlines—even if a deadline is looming

Do you spend most of your writing time writing just headlines only?

In this post, I will show you to write interesting headlines with “And”, “Even” and “Without” in an instant.

Topics I will cover:

  1. Role of Grammar in writing interesting headlines
  2. Why you should separate writing headlines from Writing posts?
  3. What is one thing you can do today to improve your headlines?

Do You Know How Many Wine Bottles Are Produced In A Year?

20 billion!!!

And most of those bottles are shut with only one thing, which is known as cork.

And as you know, cork comes from the bark of the cork tree.

But you just can’t scrap the bark from the cork tree and stuff it into the wine bottle. You have to harvest the bark. And to get a good harvest, the tree must be 25 years old. After such a long period, you have to wait for another 9 years, to get the first batch of bark, which is unfit for wine bottles. The second stripping also not being good for bottles, is used for industrial purposes only.

So, in total, you may have to wait for at least 40 years to get the first batch of cork from the bark tree. But after that, you can have a cork for more than 16 billion bottles.

You see?

Just like you can’t rush a cork tree, similarly, writing good headlines too need some time.

But we need those headlines fast for our articles, newsletters, webinars, etc.

So, is there any to fasten this tiring process? Or patience is our only refuge?

In this article, I will try to explain the way of writing headlines under pressure. There are 3 ways.

  1. Headlines with ‘And’
  2. Then, Headlines with ‘Even’
  3. And Finally, Headlines with ‘Without’

Headlines With ‘And’

Well, as you know, in the world of copywriting headline is everything. If your headlines fail to catch the attention, then there is no way one is going to read your whole copy. In my starting days, I used to tear my hair out while writing headlines. Every time sat down to write, my brain cells used to clog up like a hard-boiled egg. Until the day I discovered the magic of “And” in moving a headline forward.

AND?

Yup, just add “AND” in your headlines, and your headlines will induce the readers to move forward.

Wanna see it in action? Alright then, let me show you

Boring Headline: How to stay healthy?
Catchy Headline: How to stay healthy (and still eat your favorite dishes?)

Boring Headline: How to increase your freelancing rates?
Catchy Headline: How to increase your freelancing rates? (and still, get more clients)

Did You Notice The Power Of ‘AND’?

‘AND’ is kind of giving oomph to your headlines. Although the first headlines are good and short, yet they are very generic. But with “AND” we are trying to convince the reader by addressing their obvious objections.

Like after reading the title, “How to increase your freelancing rates?” your reader (who would be a low earning freelancer) may form an opinion of losing clients. But with 2nd headline, he will be compelled to know more about your article. (Afterall, every freelancer wants to know how to charge more and still get more clients)

Even look-wise, the 2nd headline is catchier than the 1st one. If you see both headlines next to each other, you will see that 2nd headline seems to say a lot more.

So, if you doubted the use of attending boring grammar classes, well, now you know. You’re in headline grammar class, and you just learned how to use ‘AND’ to freshen up your headlines.. 

Now, you too can write headlines in an instant with using ‘AND’

Alright, the first lesson of grammar class in done.

Now, let’s go to the world of adverbs…in the land of “EVEN”

Headlines With ‘Even’

I learn this way from Roy Peter Clark’s book, Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. In tool no. 28, he suggests creating contrast by putting odd things together. It creates a little shock in the mind of readers.

Even most of the joke writing work on this rule.

Here Is How It Works.

First, they set up a background story (also known as premise), then they surprise you with a punch line. The premise is something in which the comic uses his skills and creativity to grab the attention of the audience and ensure that they are moving in the same direction. Then, with his punchline, he alters the direction in a way which no one expected.

And That’s How We Will Use ‘EVEN’—To Create Curiosity In The Mind Of Readers.

With ‘EVEN’ in the headlines, you will create the same impact as those comedians. You are making the audience believe a specific argument or story—and surprising them with the punchline.

Ready for 2nd lesson?

Alright then, let me explain it directly with examples

Boring Heading: How to rank higher on Google?
Catchy Headline: How to rank higher on Google? (even if you’re a Newbie)

Boring Headline: How to leave your job?
Catchy Headline: How to leave your job? (even if you don’t have any savings)

Boring Headline: How to get paid as a freelance writer?
Catchy Headline: How to get paid as a freelance writer? (Even if you don’t have any experience)

Did you notice the setup and punchline? 

Even in the headlines, “EVEN” creates a powerful shock. It provides an extra bit of information that readers are simply not anticipating. And in doing so, it keeps them hooked throughout the article.

Alright, so now we have covered ‘AND’ and ‘EVEN’.

Let’s go to our last grammar lesson, “WITHOUT”. Don’t know if it’s a preposition or adverb or conjunction. But what I know is that it does a damn good job when you had enough of ‘AND’ and ‘EVEN’

You ready?

Headlines with ‘Without’

Writing headlines with “WITHOUT’ is the easiest of all 3. Just think of the obvious objection which will arise in the mind of the reader. And, slap that with “WITHOUT” in your headlines.

Here are a few examples;

Headline: How to raise your freelancing rates?
Catchy Headline: How to raise your freelancing rates? (without losing your clients)

How to earn more as a freelancer? (without burning the midnight oil)
How to increase your rates? (without considering the competition)

So, what’s the magic of ’WITHOUT’?

Just like the other two, ‘WITHOUT’ is also addressing the objections (fear) of your reader. Did you saw the 2nd part of the headline? They all address the pain-points of readers like…

  • Losing clients
  • Need to improve the quality of product
  • The anxiety of competition

So, what you will do?

It’s simple, isn’t it? You just write your headline and think of at least one reason or (objection) why it will not be a good idea for the reader.

Let’s take an example;

How to be a Freelance Writer?

What will be the objections to this?

  1. I don’t have time
  2. I haven’t written anything online

And then you just paste these objections next to your headlines. See yourself…

How to be a freelance writer? (even if you don’t have time)

How to be a freelance writer? (even if you haven’t written anything online)

Alright then, let me cover one more point before I wrap up this post.

Have you noticed the use of parentheses (brackets) in all of these new headlines?

You can make your article much easier to read by the sensible use of these little brackets

For example, if you want people to know that you can write on every topic (except Health & Technology)

The proper use of parentheses, as I just did, makes the article easier-to-read, easier to understand, and provides a little “eye relief” for your reader.

Let’s revise a bit before you go to write your headlines. Shall we?

Now you know the three methods of writing catchier headlines. All it takes is just the 3 words of your grammar book.

  • AND—Energizes your headline
  • EVEN—Does this little thing of setup and punchline
  • WITHOUT—is all about the objections.

You see, those Grammar Nazis were right.

You should brush up your grammar because even if your mind is clogged up, you’ll still be able to write eye-catchy headlines without breaking a sweat.

So, what is one thing you can do today to improve your headlines?

Adapting a new style or approach of writing will take some time. Till then, you can the following copywriter’s formula to write effective headlines.

“Easy headline formula: [End result reader wants] + [Specific time period] + [Address the objections]”

Alright then, that’s it today. In the next post, I will teach you to how to write your first 5o words to woo the readers.

Note: This is part 3 of my series Introduction to Online Writing. Read Part 2 here: Everything You Need to Know About Keywords

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