12 Ways to Generate Profit with Headlines


Businesswoman with piggy bank and jar of coins

How fabulous would it be if you had the ability to write magnetic headlines and titles? So compelling that you could practically convert people with that one line?

I have great news!

Writing magnetic titles is less about talent and creativity than it is about understanding the psychology of both the general consumer and your particular ideal client.

With just a few simple pieces of advice, you can be writing your own compelling, provocative title for your next article, eBook or blog post.

All you’ll need is the advice I’m about to share.

The Magnetic Headline Formula

Most small business owners underestimate the power of the headline. If you have ever shared an article on social media, you know that most people will comment on that article without having read it. They establish an opinion based solely on the title.

Some experts have said that four times more people read just the headline than the article attached to it. Click To Tweet

There are two things we can learn from this behaviour: 1) A more compelling headline might get more people to read the content and 2) Even if they don’t read the content, the headline has a very important job to do for your business.

Of course, reading just the headline isn’t ideal; you want them to continue so they’ll click and be converted. However, if they’re only going to read the headline, no matter what, then you’ve always got to be thinking What kind of impression do I need to make with my title?

So what will you say with your headlines—even to those people who won’t bother to open the article? And how will you convince them to read on, even if they typically wouldn’t?

I have compiled some pieces of advice for writing titles and headlines that are simply irresistible. Not every headline can employ each tactic; however, all the good ones use at least one.

Speak to your Ideal Reader

Who is most beneficial to your brand? That’s easy: It’s the person who’s not only suffering from the problem you’re solving, but who is ready to take the steps necessary to solve that problem. No matter if it’s weight loss or financial freedom—your headline must say exactly what they’ve been waiting to hear.

Make a Promise

Does this mean that your headline should read I Promise to Give you a Great Recipe for Flan? No. The promise should be implied. As with every piece of marketing, your title should tell people what they can expect. For example, This Scientific Breakthrough is Proving that Ice Cream BURNS Fat. Now, of course, you’ve got to deliver on that promise. No click bait and switch!

Announce Relief

When you’re writing your title, think about the person who’s been searching for the information for months…even years. They’re like a parched soul wandering in the desert, and the information you’re sharing is their oasis. How will you announce it to them? How will you get them to jump up and shout, “At Last! Relief!”?

Challenge a Long-Held Belief

Everyone knows the sky is blue. We can see it with our own eyes. But what if, whilst scrolling, you come across a headline that reads, Ground-Breaking Research Determines Sky is no Longer Blue? Would you feel compelled to open that article and learn more? Challenging the status quo is a method that journalists have been using for centuries to hook readers—and it still works.

Demonstrate Urgency

How many people leave an article unread, with the intention of reading it later? A whole lot of them, unless you make it clear that they must read it now! I do not have a definitive statistic on this one; however, I would venture to say that very few people will scroll past a piece of news or information without reading it…and still find it compelling enough to come back later. That’s why a headline that screams Read Me Now! will always be more effective than one that gives people the impression that they have time.

Offer a Reward

When marketing, we’ve got to highlight the benefits of any given product or service. Headlines and titles are no different. It should be clear to the reader what they can expect to gain by reading the article. For instance, Busy Mother-Turned-Millionaire Shares Secret of Success practically promises that the reader will have a method for getting rich when she’s finished. Again – no click bait! You’ve got to deliver.

Be Emotive

By now, you might already know what emotions drive your ideal customers to action. Do you need to remind them about the pain they’re in? Or do you need to give them a taste of how they will feel after they’ve used your product? Whatever emotion moves your particular target market to action, use words in your headline that will stir up that emotion. If you own an adoption agency, something like, A Precious Baby is Waiting to Complete your Life, just might stir up enough emotion to get people to click on your blog post.

Inspire Agreement

The funniest comedians are funny because they say the things we all know, but haven’t yet found the words to express. A great headline can do the same thing, causing a reader to nod her head in agreement (and amazement)…and then click.

Draw an Unexpected Parallel

Sometimes, we have separate problems or pains that we don’t associate with one another…until you draw attention to a parallel, and things start to fall into place. If you can do that with just one headline, how can they resist reading the rest? An example? Your Husband’s Snoring is Causing you to Gain Weight. You know they’re going to click on that one.

Add Intrigue

You know that feeling you get when someone says, “Never, ever push this button”? You want to push it, just to find out what will happen. Well, your headline can have the same effect on readers. Think about the one thing they want more than anything else and then, in a savvy way, tell them they should only click on this headline if they’re ready for everything to change…forever. This will Make you Dump your Financial Advisor is one example.

Talk Numbers

You’ve seen headlines like these: Top 10 Expert Make-Up Application Tips and The 3 Ways Grocers are Changing your Shopping Experience. People are attracted to the content on the other end of these headlines for a few reasons: The article already sounds structured and easy-to-follow, you’re promising something specific, they expect bullet points (for skimming), and numbers appeal to the psychology of organised people.

Claim Something Bold

This one can be tricky. You must be careful not to make claims that you can’t fulfil; whilst still causing a shock-and-awe movement grand enough to get the click. Start by pinpointing the one thing your business does better than anyone else. You know, the thing that amazes your clients and keeps them coming back. Then write a headline that makes an honest claim others wouldn’t dare to make.

In conclusion, your headline or title has to reach out of the computer screen, or off the shelf, and grab your ideal reader by the throat. Even if they pass on by, it must haunt them until they go back to find it again.

It really does have to be that powerful.

Want to hear how others are writing magnetic titles? And compelling their ideal readers to click with persuasive headlines? Head over to the Fempire Academy forum, where the conversation is always positive, supportive and intriguing. And don’t forget to check out the menu of live events hosted by Fempire — because transformation is always more profound when in happens in-person!

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  1. Barbara

    I’m interested to know how this converts in real life! I guess I’m a bit of a skeptic because I rarely read on myself… I see the marketing behind it and ‘turn off’… does that happen to anyone else reading here?!

    • Anna Gratte

      I see where you’re coming from, Barbara. In this day and age we are blasted by so many ‘clickbaity’ headlines it can get very frustrating. But as elle said (below), branding is important offline and online, whether you be posting on social media or networking face-to-face.

    • Marnie LeFevre

      As marketers we are constantly testing and measuring and there are some people like you Barbara who simply don’t engage BUT there are far more who do. This is why it continues. I highly recommend marketers write ethical headlines that capture attention, then deliver on promise. If you look at marketing as trying to help someone cut through the noise and finally find the help they need then it becomes serving not selling. People are wise to gimmicky marketing, like you Barbara. As marketers we have to try to connect, not just sell, and that starts with capturing attention, but in a good way, with a great headline. Mx

    • Nicole Reid

      Hi, this has given me great food for thought and I’ll be definitely thinking more carefully about what headline I want to use. Thanks heaps xo
      Nicole Reid

  2. elle

    I understand what you are saying Barbara!…promoting yourself does not have to be corny or bad though. Personal branding is important online and offline now and it can be as subtle or as loud as you like, that is part of your brand I think. Being able to sum up your passion and why people should care in one sentence is helpful not just for social media but for face-to-face networking as well. I have met so many interesting and talented women who give such obscure answers to people when asked what they do that it takes some perseverance to ask more questions to get to the real interesting stuff! Not many are willing to be so nosey! haha you never know when you meet someone who they know or what they do that might benefit from knowing you or vice versa ?

    • Anna Gratte

      Very well said elle, we all have a personal brand – whether we like it or not!

  3. Kate Hawker

    These are all very good points and its a fine line between grabbing someone’s attention (hopefully enough to read on) and being click bait !

    • Anna Gratte

      It certainly is a fine line, you’ve got to be careful!

  4. Lesley Petersen

    I appreciate this article’s ease of read and it made me reflect on the headlines I create for my newsletter and blog. It also made me go back and read some self musings about going deeper than offering “3 tools to…..”. The reader should get a real ‘take away and apply in own context’ outcome.

    • Anna Gratte

      I’m glad that you found this article helpful, Lesley. ?

    • Marnie LeFevre

      Thanks Lesley and I absolutely agree…look forward to hearing about the inspired headlines you create for your blog from now on. Mx

      • Lesley

        Thanks Anna and Marnie. I will share as I create them :). I am very much looking forward to attending your workshop/seminar in Brisbane on 17 September Marnie! What a fabulous opportunity for my own professional development (as opposed helping others with theirs).

        • Marnie LeFevre

          It’s always nice to receive. We don’t do it enough as women I find. Look forward to seeing you there Lesley! Mx

  5. Emily Collaton

    I really enjoyed reading this article and made me reflect on what I read when searching through endless material and it’s definitely the headline that draws me in or steers me away

  6. Sheryn

    Powerful advice. Thank you

  7. Carla Violante

    All suggestions are great, but it’s the practical application of this that is key. And defining your public. How many times do we forget that “we” might not be our audience??


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