Your headlines are the very first thing a person sees (duh I know…. but hear me out) and what you convey in these first words is what the old brain or the reptilian brain (AKA the real decision maker) uses to make a decision to proceed or hit back-button.
The old brain is quick to judge and label; it can immediately recognize and categorize a potential threat or benefit. No matter how solid and logical your message is message is, it will not trigger a decision unless the old brain says so.
So how does the old brain assess these few words? With these basic questions:
Is this a danger that I need to know more about?
Will this solve a burning problem?
Will this make my life easier in anyway?
Does this make me look cool?
If your headlines do not provoke any of these questions, you don’t stand a chance at hooking the reader!
So how do you create that Hook?
Your headline should address at least one of the six basic human desires:
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
Your headline would make people excited not dull them down. A headline that makes them sad, deflated or creates emotions of defeat would never get clicked or shared (but anger is good, make them angry if you want!). Remember no one wants to be a damper!
Your headline should invoke excitement, curiosity and an urge to click and share.
If your headline creates a curiosity gap (which it should!) you should never ever ever…like EVER give it all way in your headline or your image or excerpt or even the share text. If you do, you will take away the impetus to click that link.
In short this is what you are trying to achieve with your headline:
“THIS I gotta read! This is uber important information! I need to click this link and read what she has to say!”
Keep these three rules in mind for all your headlines and you are on your way to headlines that get clicked, read, shared and talked about.
And now the icing on the cake:
Your very own Swipe File for One full year worth of Ideas and Fill-in-the-Blank Headlines (Click to download)
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