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052 Three New Ways to Write a Headline (and When to Use Each)
9th June 2015 • Rough Draft • Rainmaker.FM
00:00:00 00:06:52

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Which desire you lead with in your headline matters. Get it wrong, and even the greatest copy won t matter.

Get it right, however, and the world will beat a path to your door.

See, your headline is the bridge between your customer and your product. And there are basically three ways of channelling that desire in a headline.

In this 7-minute episode you’ll discover:

  • The 3 different ways to channel desire (and when to use each one)
  • Why the NY Times will never write a fancy headline
  • The Men’s Health sales letter that makes me groan
  • Write this kind of headline when your reader doesn’t know about your product or their problem
  • The benefit of being strong (lifting heavy office furniture or fighting anyone you want)
  • And so much more!!!

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The Transcript

3 New Ways to Write a Headline (and When to Use Each)

Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at RainmakerPlatform.com.

Demian Farnsworth: Hi, and welcome to Rough Draft, your daily podcast that delivers the essential writing advice you need to succeed online as a writer.

I m your host, Demian Farnworth, the Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media. And thank you for sharing the next few minutes of your life with me.

So let s recap from the last episode. We talked about desire, how which desire you choose is the most important step. Get it wrong, and even the greatest copy won t matter. Get it right, however, and the world will beat a path to your door.

As Eugene Schwartz said in Breakthrough Advertising, the job of your headline is to “Tap a single overwhelming desire existing in the hearts of thousands of people who are actively seeking to satisfy it at this very moment.”

See, your headline is the bridge between your customer and your product. And there are basically three ways of channelling that desire in a headline.

The Three Different Ways to Channel Desire (and When to Use Each One)

One, if your prospect is aware of your product and knows that it can satisfy his desire, then state your product in the headline.

The New York Times is a household name with high levels of credibility. Stating the name alone endorses the product. But we also know what the NY Times provides, so, in this case, just get to the offer.

For example, in an ad for their app, their headline is nothing more than: “The NYTimes app for Kindle Fire is here.”

Nothing fancy.

The second way to channel that desire is if your customer doesn t know about your specific product, but only of the desire itself in this case, your headline starts with the desire.

The Men s Health Sales Letter that Makes Me Groan

For example, in a Men s Health ad, the headline reads “Get Jacked Up and Ripped in Just 30 Days.” We don t know what the product is, but we are clear on the benefits it offers.

Which include:

  • The benefit of being unapologetically attractive and irresistible where women drop their jaws as you peel off your shirt in the grocery store parking lot (because, you know, it s really hot outside).
  • The benefit of being strong (lifting heavy office furniture or fighting anyone you want).
  • The benefit of being athletic (like killing it in the Ironman or some spontaneous pull up contest).
  • The benefit of being confident (strolling right up to any woman to ask for her phone number, demanding that raise from your boss).
  • And the desire to be healthy (living longer, fewer medical bills).

There are a lot of potential desires you could use in your headline. But the strongest desire is this: I am a wanted man because of my jack d up chest and ripped torso.

In case you were wondering, my mind goes numb thinking about the amount of effort you have to put into getting a body like that. I d rather have a jacked up and totally ripped brain.

Thank you. I ll be here all week.

Write this Kind of Headline When Your Reader Doesn t Know About Your Product or Either Problem

And finally, the third way of channelling desire is if your customer doesn t know about your product or the desire. In other words, your customer is seeking a general solution to a general problem. But doesn t really know it.

If that s the case, then you start with the problem (use the Problem-Agitate-Solve formula we mentioned in episode 47) crystallizing it into a specific need.

Take the Stansberry Research ad headline that reads, “The Most Dangerous Everyday Threat to Your Privacy.”

Here the product isn t named, and your desire is nothing more than a vague sense that something is wrong.

Could it be all this talk about the NSA? Or Google knowing everything I search for? Should you be concerned? Is it even a problem that your privacy is being threatened?

If you happen to think so, then you are likely to be interested in the free reports Stansberry offers

Or maybe not.

Summary

So that s three ways to inject desire into your headline: one, your audience is aware of the product and the desire, two, your audience is aware of the desire but not the product, and three, your audience isn t aware of either the product or the desire.

So this little framework will help you start to decide the strongest desire you should put in your headline. It will help you decide how to, as an old mentor used to tell me, “Open with the big guns.” Because there are lots of desires you could choose. But only the most powerful will ensure the farthest and deepest reach.

And so your next step in this little journey is to decide which product performance best satisfies that desire.

Which is for the next episode. Until then, take care.

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