Power Words and Templates for Writing Killer Headlines

February 2, 2011 · 15 comments

by Lars

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When you write a headline you have to realize that this is the first, and maybe the only, impression you will make on your prospective readers. Therefore your headline have to do one thing and one thing only. It has to convince the reader to read on. Whether you’re a new blogger just exploring your niche or a seasoned blogger preparing your next great post the importance of headlines cannot be stressed enough. Working on headlines can be fun and challenging at the same time, but one thing is certain… if you know what you are doing… your ability to hit the target fast is much better.


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Like in most other areas there is also some basic principle for headlines that you must have in mind when writing your headlines:
American Writers & Artists copywriting trainers teach The Four U’s approach to writing great headlines. They say from an expert view that headlines, subheads and bullets should always:

  1. Be USEFUL to your reader
  2. Provide a sense of URGENCY
  3. Give an impression that the main benefit is in some way UNIQUE
  4. Do all of the above in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way.

Also keep in mind to keep your headlines short and to the point. First of all to make it fast and easy for your readers to read it, but also because Google and other search engines will cut your headline in their search result listings if it gets too long.

So in a busy life where you always have to juggle too many balls at once… how can you manage to win the headline race without spending hours gold plating and polishing? I have been experimenting for some time with building lists of words that work well in headlines and headline templates to kick start the process. I have to admit that it rocks and I have to share this with you today.

Headline Templates

If you like to short cut your way to great headlines that work you try to use headline templates that are proven to convert.

The Lazy ________ Way to ________ (e.g. The Lazy Bloggers Way to Increase Traffic)

Don’t ______ without reading this!

Little Known Ways to __________

The last _____ you will ever need.

Get Rid of ________[problem] Once and For All

Here’s a Quick Way to ________[solve a problem]

Do You Make These Mistakes ______?

The Secret of ___________

[number] Ways to _________

The _____ you always wanted

Do You Recognize the [number] Early Warning Signs of ______________

You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result]

Who Else Wants ____________?

Headline power words

For Energy
Guarantee
Surprising
Mind-blowing
Unexpected
Striking
Astonishing
Stunning
Shocking
Boost
Staggering
Wonderful
Hilarious
Phenomenal
Immense
Tremendous
Startling
Savvy
Amazing

For Interest
Challenging
Mistakes
Releases
Announces
How
Ways
New
Old
Tips
Ideal
Ships
Important
Just right
Quick
Flawless
Rockstar
Faultless
Textbook

For Controversy
Lies
Worst
Mystery
Quit
Nightmare
Dangerous
Forget
Bad
Confusing
Scary
Ridiculous
Closes
Never

For Lists and Guides
Top 10
Best
Perfect
Secret
Reasons
Free
Only
Complete
Absolute
Total
Exact
Ultimate

For Mystery
Sly
Top Secret
Underground
Private
Classified
Confidential

For Fun
Epic
Unreal
Wild
Bloopers
Oops!
Blockbuster
Crazy
Legit
Extreme

How do you develop your headlines? Do you have your own list of words and do you have any experience with headline templates? Share your comments below and lets start talking about this rather important topic!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed July 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Nice article. Useful words and phrases but agree with others, use with caution.

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Karen Reyburn September 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I’m actually now interested to see the Unexpected Mind-blowing Too Crazy for Words Creative Weekly Website Designs!

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Lars September 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Karen, well I am too! …. I agree these superlatives should be used with care!

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Russ August 26, 2011 at 9:11 pm

My difficulty is trying to write a great headline in only 25 characters (including spaces), and then follow this with a body text of only 135 characters, extolling the virtues of ceiling tiles.

Quite a struggle at the moment

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Stephen March 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

powerful headlines combined with clear big and catching sub headlines really do help people digest articles. I quite like to split posts up into multiple pages for easy digestion.

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Lars March 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Stephen, good point. I have not done it myself but I will consider it. It also improves the number of page view you get… but I’m not sure what it will do to your SERP ranking

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Jennier R February 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Nice headline example but don’t write such amazing title if your content is not good as it!

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Lars February 14, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I completely agree with you Jennier

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Good Web Design February 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

understand the theory behind the power word headlines… but… would be so much easier if ‘everybody’ simply uses ’10 weekly website designs’ instead of ’10 Must See Unexpected Mind-blowing Too Crazy for Words Creative Weekly Website Designs’ (hehe…) (just kidding)

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Lars February 3, 2011 at 12:48 am

Well to some extent you are right… Everything does not have to start Awesome, Stunning, Mind-blowing…. if fact it can be too much if the content is just average quality

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Good Web Design February 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm

yeah.. keep it moderate and let the readers decide if its really that awesome (hehe…)

Reply

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