Are you anxious to see the newspaper headlines tomorrow morning? Wednesday’s papers will have the hottest political headlines since the Chicago Tribune declared “Dewey Beats Truman” in 1948. I’ll bet record numbers of papers are sold.

Compelling headlines are critical to everything from newspaper articles to your every-day advertisements, web copy, or brochures. You know the drill: each word in your headline must grab the reader’s attention and pull him in to continue reading your copy. But exactly how do you do that?

Here are three copywriting tricks I can share:

1. Use the words “Why” and “How.”

Adding the words “why” and “how” at the beginning of a headline creates a specific image in your reader’s mind and makes him curious to learn more.

Good: “Improve Your Bottom Line Through Outsourcing”

question marks © by Jilligan86

Better: “How to Improve Your Bottom Line Through Outsourcing”

2. Add a question mark.

Readers don’t usually trust advertisements. Show them that you share their skepticism, because it looks like you’re questioning the claim, too. And an open ended question entices your reader to keep on reading.

Good: “Live Longer with Chinese Herbal Remedies”

Better: “Live Longer with Chinese Herbal Remedies?”

3. Include a number.

Numbers make your claim specific and believable. The reader is both interested to find out more but also relieved to know exactly what to expect from you.

Good: “Start Saving Money Now!”

Better: “7 Ways to Start Saving Money Now!”

Bonus Tip #4! Make a promise.


Before you can write your headline, you absolutely need to know what key benefit you’re promising your reader. Give your reader a goal that only you can help them achieve. Forget this at your peril.

Here are 15 samples to get you on your way to writing better headlines:

  1. Why You Should Never (PROBLEM)
  1. Why You Need To (GOAL)
  1. How To Improve Your (GOAL)
  1. How To (GOAL) In (TIME FRAME)
  1. (GOAL)?
  1. Do You (PROBLEM)?
  1. Want to Be (GOAL)?
  1. Tired with (PROBLEM)?
  1. Should You (GOAL)?
  1. (#) Ways to (GOAL)
  1. Get (GOAL) in (#) Easy Steps
  1. (#) Weeks to (GOAL)
  1.  (#) Secrets to Achieving (GOAL)
  1. (#) Ways to Beat (PROBLEM)