Headlines are the billboards of your blog post, the statement that piques a reader’s interest and make them want to read the first line of your story. The importance of an attention-getting headline cannot be underrated, which is why I’m going on about it again.
On the heels of my recent post, Studying at the David Olgilvy School of Headline Writing, I discovered a simple, yet awesome blog headline formula for you to try.
This formula comes from Catherine Pascuas, a copywriter whose company, Brain Stem Copy, also produces a podcast called, The Autism Show. As a student of neuroscience, her interest is in the way people react to psychological signals when reading.
She says that to make people click on your headline, you need to tap into the unconscious thoughts of your readers, thoughts that are controlled by the basest part of the brain – the brain stem.
“When you’re writing, you want to think about pulling psychological strings. Appeal to each person’s needs, wishes, joys, and sorrows.”
Know your readers, she says, including their problems, frustrations, motivations, beliefs, weaknesses, habits, longings, and hurts.
When writing a headline, we should ask ourselves, does this make me want to read on?
The Headline Formula
To create the kind of headlines that strike at the readers brain stem and make them click, Pascuas came up with a simple headline formula that incorporates the following ingredients:
- A number – preferably random odd numbers like 19, 27, 836
- Or, a trigger word – Why, How, What, When
- Interesting adjectives – Effortless, Painstaking, Fun, Free, Incredible, Essential, Absolute, and Strange
- A unique rational – Reasons, Principles, Facts, Lessons, Ideas, Ways, Secrets
- An audacious promise – a value proposition or a dare
Pascuas cautions us to choose either a number or a trigger word, but not both. I guess that’s asking too much of readers to comprehend.
So, here’s her formula:Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise = Clickable Headline
To illustrate her point, Pascuas gives this example:
Original Headline: “Selling your house in a day.”
Formulaic Headline: “How You Can Effortlessly Sell Your Home in Less than 24 Hours”
In writing this post, I took her advice this way:
Original Headline: “A Headline Formula to get more Clicks.”
Formulaic Headline: “1 Awesome Headline Formula to Increase Blog Clicks Immediately.”
So the number is 1, implying that it’s all you need to know. The adjective is “awesome,” something everyone relates to. The keywords are “headline formula,” researched on Google. And the Promise is “increase blog clicks immediately,” so you know what you’re going to get and when.
But Will it Work?
Let’s see if this headline formula works. You read to the end of this post. Please leave a comment and tell me why you clicked on this post headline.
To learn more, check out Pascuas’ slideshow
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