Let me ask you a question, what made you click on this post’s headline — whether you saw it on Facebook, Google, my homepage, or in an email?
Maybe you clicked it because it promised to solve a problem for you — how to write better headlines?
Or maybe because it promised you can learn to do it right away?
Maybe you clicked because you were intrigued by the idea of a specific “Easy 4 U” formula.
Or maybe it was all of those things put together — as prescribed by my formula.
According to Copyblogger, eight out of ten people will read the average headline when they see it — but only two out of ten will read the associated blog post. That means, if you want to improve your odds of people actually reading what you post, you need to pay attention to your headline and make it as compelling as possible. That’s where the “Easy 4 U” formula comes in.
Don’t worry — I haven’t lost my mind and started writing in text speak! My “Easy 4 U” headline formula is called that because the four elements of a spectacular headline all start with the letter U:
I’ve put all the details in this free printable checklist: Your Easy 4 U Headline Checklist. Click here to download it now.
In the mean time, let’s go through each element one by one.
Think about the articles you click on when you’re scrolling through Facebook or checking your emails in the morning. Likely the ones that pique your interest are the ones that offer something useful to YOU!
Understanding what will be useful to your audience is part of understanding who they are and what they want. It meets them where they’re at, identifying a problem they may be experiencing or a solution they may be looking for. This isn’t just for service-based businesses, either. Products can be useful and solve a problem — even luxury products. My Custom Greek Threads clothing line solves the problem of finding stylish Greek clothing for sorority and fraternity members. It’s not world peace, but it is a problem that my audience experiences!
Examples of Useful Headlines:
- Create Professional Client Proposals in Minutes
- How to Clean Your Microfiber Sofa Without Water
- Measure Fractions of an Egg for Recipes with a Kitchen Scale
With so much vying for our attention on the Internet, clever copywriters will build urgency into their headlines to compel the click.
A great example of these comes from local news teasers on TV. They say things like, “This common household chemical kills thousands of children every year. Learn more at 11.”
Well, any self-respecting adult who has children in their lives is going to want to know what that common household chemical is! It becomes urgent for them to tune in and find out — the same way it would be urgent for us to click and read.
Of the four U’s, urgency is the trickiest to use and the one that might not always be applicable to your topic. So if you’re going to leave one out, it should be this one.
Examples of Urgent Headlines:
- Avoid THIS Fashion Faux Pas (Worse Than Wearing White at a Wedding)
- There’s ONLY 3 Ways to Make a Man Want You
- Train Your Puppy to Potty Outside in 2 Weeks
People like novelty. Whenever you Google a topic, you get a selection of articles, blog posts, or websites on the same topic. What makes you choose one over the other? When I was researching this post, I did a search to research generating urgency in copy and got these results:
- The Smart Way to Create a Sense of Urgency – CopyBlogger
- Creating Urgency Without Being a Slimeball – iAcquire Blog
- 5 Tips for Creating Urgency in Your Writing and Emails – Vertical Response
I was immediately drawn to the second topic because of the word “slimeball.” Of course, I definitely don’t want to be a slimeball in my business! But the uniqueness of the word also made the headline stand out for me. Anything you can do to make your headline unique will help it stand out in an oversaturated digital world. Examples of Unusual Headlines:
- Sea Bunnies? People Are Going Nuts for Cute Sea Slug
- 10 Beautiful Flowers that Kill in Horrifying Ways
- Well-Endowed Fleas Causing Headaches for UK Truck Drivers
Ever wondered why you see so many headlines that have numbers in them? It’s because numbers are one way to get ultra-specific.
- 7 Common Foods You Should Never Eat
- 15 Genius Ways to Impress Your Boss Without Even Trying
- 70 At-Home Date Night Ideas To Try Tonight!
This kind of headline is popular because it works; we as readers like the specificity of knowing exactly what we’re going to get. The best headlines also go beyond that to be even more specific. They’re not just foods you shouldn’t eat, but common foods. Not just date night ideas, but at-home date night ideas. (Notice the urgency in these as well.) Again, understanding what will appeal to your audience is about understanding your audience. Examples of Ultra-Specific Headlines:
- 78 New Tools for Online Professionals
- How to Easily Analyze the Social Activities of Your Competitors
- Your Definitive Guide to the Best Biscuits for Dunking in Tea
When you put these four elements together, you’ll find you come up with better headlines every time. The only “trick” to getting people to click on your headlines is meeting them where they are: promising them a useful, urgent, unique, and ultra-specific answer to their problems.
Don’t forget to download Your “Easy 4 U” headline checklist, so that you can easily remember the 4 U’s when writing your next headline. Click here.