5 Tried and True Headlines for Engaging Your Audience

June 1st, 2010

Engaging. A word that quite simply implies all you need to know about effective copywriting and content strategy.

The formula for sticky content is simple: Start with an engaging headline that peaks the reader’s interest (enough to read past the first line of copy), provide value and build trust leading up to a compelling call to action.

I’ve prepared a brief list of 5 headline types that are time tested and true to grabbing your audience’s attention.

Be Direct

Skip the fluff and go directly to the meat of your value proposition.  If the offer is sexy enough, and you’ve clearly stated the process, outlined the steps involved and built your case for conversion, then this headline type can be very effective. NOTE – The headline can only be as good as the offer and supporting copy.

  • Free 60 Day Trial of XYZ Product
  • Shop Our Line of 2010 Designer Suits –  Prices Reduced by 50 Percent!
  • Sign Up for XYZ Product Today and Receive an Additional 30 Percent Off

Be Subtle

A slightly more clever approach, this headline type uses the power of curiosity to subtly engage the reader. Employing the power of metaphors, a pun or two and even subtle humor can go a long way in catching the reader’s interest without hitting them directly in the head with your offer.

  • SEO is Like a Fleeting Lover … Difficult to Catch but Well Worth the Effort
  • Out with the  Old Ways of Selling XYZ Products and In with the New (make sure product is easily recognizable in this case).

Ask a Question

No better way to gain empathy from your audience then by asking a relevant question that sparks a personal response. The idea here is purely psychological (though all good copywriting is). You ask a question that the audience feels compelled to answer or can easily relate to their personal lives, problems, etc., then provide the answer in the copy that follows your headline.

  • Are You Tired of Watching Your Competition Dominate the Market?
  • Are You Suffering From Hair Loss and Tired of all the Gimmick Solutions?
  • Who Wants to Get Rich Online in Only 90 Days?

Call to Arms

Break out your arsenal of highly effective verbs and unleash! Actually, the approach is rather simple. Use a clear call to action that incorporates a strong verb and prompts the reader to take immediate action.

  • Subscribe to Our Monthly Product Newsletter
  • Contact XYZ Company for Your Free Consultation Today

Listing Like a Maniac

The cat’s meow for just about every successful blogger out there today, the list headline type is actually an mash up of two traditional headline types – the Reason Why and How to.

Reason Why headlines traditionally employ a bulleted or numbered list that provides multiple “reasons why” your reader should buy a product, contact your company, etc.

  • 50 Reasons Why You Should Use These 5 Headline Types in Every Blog Post
  • 5 Reasons Why Building Relationships is the Best Kind of Networking

A How to headline also generally uses a bulleted or numbered list. The idea here is you are offering a direct correlation between the valuable information you provide and a question your reader needs answered.

  • How to Use Free WordPress Themes to Generate XYZ Result
  • How to Minimize Bookkeeping Errors with XYZ Product

So now you have a beginner’s arsenal of effective headlines, but what about the follow up? Effective headlines are only the first step to using your content to engage an audience.

Be sure to check out Three Crucial Tips for Turning Your Audience into Rabid Fans for more information on the steps to take after you’ve engaged your audience with sticky content.

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