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3 Ways to Write Headlines That Increase Click-throughs

Business writers must use different copywriting techniques to maintain their reader's attention. Headlines are one effective ways to do this. Why? Because headlines attract their attention, encourage them to explore, and guide them through the document - so they don’t get lost.

What's the best way to write an effective headline to capture their attention? Let's analyze a headline, see how it’s constructed, and then look at ways to improve it. We'll use a standard business letter headline as an example.

Using Headlines in Reports

You may not have thought of putting a headline in a letter—it may seem inappropriate—but good headlines emphasize the benefits you’re offering.


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If you don’t grab the reader's attention immediately, they may not even bother to scan your letter. Business people are overwhelmed with special offers and promotions— yours has to stand out!

Your headline has to pull them right into the letter's message — it has to standout.

The Three Kings

Every headline has three basic points:

  1. Benefit — what it promises to do, either directly or indirectly.

  2. Target — the specific reader (i.e. target group) that you are writing to.

  3. Magnetism – the hook that persuades the reader to read more.

Let's take a heading, and try to improve it.

"Technical Documentation Services."

Could you possibly care less after reading this? I couldn’t!

Ok. It says what the company does, but that’s about it. Let’s include a benefit to make it more interesting:

"Our writing gets your message across"

Now, this is sharper. There is a direct promise of a benefit. It gets my attention and interest. Let's target the message:

"CEO: Get your message on Wall Street to crush the Competition"

This might not be to everyone taste, but it does get attention; and it’s a lot better than "Technical Documentation Services".

By making this slight adjustment, we’re focusing on the decision makers in this case the CEO, so that if you're a CEO reading this headline, you’re bound to feel more interested.

"I want to do that," you'd think. "I should be getting my message on Wall Street, not my competitors."

Let's go one step further and lead the CEO into the main copy:

"How we get our message on Wall Street and destroy the Competition in 1Minute"

You can’t help but want to read what's next – because this is what a CEO thinks about all day long:

  • How can I get my message across?

  • How can I beat the competition?

  • How soon can I do it?

  • Look at how the headline has changed.

First, it was just a boring statement. Now it has a "human interest" element. In other words, people can now relate to it.

People are always interested in other people’s stories.

Readers will think to themselves, "Well, how did they do it?" Even if they try to resist, they will still keep thinking about it in the back of their mind, which is a sign that your headline is working.

The "How So and So did this" approach is a proven winner in drawing in readers.

Writing About People

Another effective tool is to place the word "these" carefully in headlines.

"CEO, Have You Made These 3 Marketing Decisions?"

Notice that in this headline we don’t even mention the marketing objectives. We’ve referred to this indirectly. The headline is so compelling that it's hard not to continue reading and find out what's on offer.

The word "these" makes you reflect on what "these 3 decisions" are.

X Number of Ways

Another approach is to talk about the "X number of ways..."

"99 Ways To Get Your Message on Wall Street."

What are those 99 ways?

It’s simple. Number one is the benefit. Number two is the target.

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