How to write a headline that sells? Copywriting 101

Today, I am going to talk to you about an important part of your copy-writing process, COMING UP WITH A HEADLINE for your copy.

If you are new to copywriting take a look here!

Your Heading or Headline is easily the most important and impactful part of your copy.

It is on the basis of your headline that the reader decides whether he wants to read the rest of your copy or just shift his attention to something more amusing and interesting.

As the great David Ogilvy said,

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents of your dollar. If you haven’t done some selling in your headline, you’ve wasted 80% of your client’s money. The wickedest of all sins is to run an advertisement without a proper headline.”

Hence, one important purpose that your headline serves is to get your reader’s attention for a relatively longer time span, so he is convinced to read or at least skim through the rest of your copy.

Coming up with a great headline is not a difficult task, but still can seem stressful at times, especially if you are a beginner.

Which is why in this post, I have brought to you some proven ways to come up with/write effective headlines.

Let’s see how you too can come up with a headline that gets the job done.

The easy way out:

The easiest way to come up with a headline is to go ahead with the “What is” and “How to” approach.

1. What is [your topic]?

2. How to master [problem] using [the solution you are providing]?

3. How you can [achieve desired state] in [time limit]?

4. How you can [achieve desired state] by [your product/service]?

This is the simplest way of coming up with headlines that are actually delivering.

People can just look at these headlines and get a clear idea of what your copy is about and if your headline strikes the right chord, readers will definitely go ahead and read the rest of the copy and may even take the desired action.

The Adjective before product approach:

This approach is used to uplift the name of the product, simply by adding an adjective in front of the name.

It is short and to the point.

Presenting, the amazing [product name]

Take a look at this wonderful [product name]

These were some examples in which the “adjective approach” can be used, but it is not limited to these options only and can be used in different combinations.

The Buzzfeed approach:

This approach takes note about headline writing from websites like Buzzfeed and Scoowoop, which is why I call it the Buzzfeed approach.

You can use numbers in headlines:

13 Reasons why you should [take the desired action]

Here is the #1 way to [get to desired state]

6 things that you have been missing upon, due to the absence of [your product]

The surprise element (Clickbait):

While this approach is very effective and works most of the time, it is not considered ethical because the surprise built by the headlines is often not delivered by the content, leaving the readers disappointed.

You won’t believe what happened next…

[Stating a promise that is almost impossible to fulfill]

[Stating unattainable goals in a very limited time]

People will fall for these headlines for a first few times, but then, they’ll automatically start to ignore your content; because it does not provide any value to them.

Putting in Social Proof:

Social proof helps you gain the trust of your reader/potential buyer, easily.

Here is how you can put in social proof in your headlines,

Take a look at how [client name] did [success story] using [your product].

[Name/number of clients] approve(s) [your product].

We helped [client name] gain [success story] in [time period], here’s how.

The Sex approach:

Sex sells, period!

To show you what I mean, below is a copy I wrote for a campaign about contact lenses.

So thin you won’t even feel a thing after putting them on!

This headline here has obvious meanings. This is why it gains attention and easily does the job of attracting people but as they go on to read the copy, the real message is delivered.

While writing headlines like these, you must know what words to use so the message doesn’t come across as obscene and offensive.


Coming up with the “Right One” while writing a headline is not an easy task. It requires practice, patience, and years of experience.

But you still have to start somewhere right?

You can start by coming up with multiple headlines for you copy and testing them one-by-one, among real audiences.

This way you can get in touch with the audience and have some clarity on what works and what doesn’t.

Another thing you must do is to never give up!

Don’t give up if your first few headlines don’t work. After all, it’s your “eureka” moment and if it takes some time to occur, that’s okay.

Don’t lose hope and keep writing!

4 thoughts on “How to write a headline that sells? Copywriting 101”

  1. Amazing it is!!!
    Headlines are and always will be the most important aspect to get a reader glued to the copy and then take an action.

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