4 Rules to Craft Magnetic Headlines in 5 Minutes

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Headlines grab your audience’s attention. According to Copyblogger, “8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only 2 out of 10 people will read the content.”

Key Headline Takeaways

The headline’s sole purpose is to get the reader to interact with your content.

Make sure the “big” promise is useful information. 

Adding a time element increases urgency.

Be ultra-specific about what’s unique about your content. 

Keep your headlines concise, catchy, and captivating.

The sole purpose of the headline is to get the content read, watched, or opened (at the least). The skill of crafting a headline is vital whether it’s a novel, a case study, a blog post, or a YouTube video. However, what is the best way to consistently produce high-quality headlines?

You should develop a set of rules to always have options for every title/headline. Crafting irresistible headlines is a simple formula away.

 Headline Breakdown

“A headline is words set at the head of the page or passage to introduce or categorize,” per Merriam – Webster. 

The important information is at the top of the inverted pyramid method. The headline must draw people in. It is the first step of the famous “slippery slope” technique popularized by copywriter Joseph Sugarman. 

  • The headline’s function is to provide useful information that is helpful and entertaining enough to get your audience to pay attention to your content.
  • The headline’s goal is to make a promise to the reader while creating urgency and being ultra-specific while giving them the gist of the content that follows in a concise manner. 

These 4 rules for crafting headlines will have your audience reading your valuable content. 

The Platinum Rule – Make sure the “big” promise is useful information.

You want to think about the results the audience will get from reading your content when you are crafting your headline. Your headline should promise the reader the results you envision. Appeal to their self-interest in a bold and dramatic fashion. Newsworthy headlines are effective because they use words like introducing, new, at last, etc touching on human’s natural curiosity. One of the best words to get your audience’s attention is free. (Obviously, you need to offer something to use that one). Remember to always address any objectives they may have. Be sure to fulfill that promise in the content so your brand/blog/book doesn’t lose credibility.

Common Techniques for Crafting Promises

 Ask the reader a question in the headline and promise to answer it in the content. 

Promise to reveal a secret to the reader, arousing their curiosity. 

Make a seemingly contradictory promise. 

Use as “Crazy as it Sounds” followed by a promise. 

(All of these techniques create a fear of missing out). 

The Golden Rule – Create a sense of urgency by adding a time element. 

Within the promise of the headline, using numbers and statistics, stress the value of the information that might save them time. Another way to create urgency is to tie in your content with a current event or create a challenge based on something popular. You can make a time-sensitive recommendation in your headline and follow it up with content that answers important questions about your product or service. Concentrate on the limited time your audience must read your content by advising them to read it now before it is too late.

Common Techniques for Crafting Urgency

You can also offer limited-time cost savings, discounts, or create something exclusive that has value and readers can’t get anywhere else (you must have something to offer to use this one).

The Silver Rule – Point to the ultra-specific unique aspect of your content to get clicks. 

Target a reader/client/customer/audience with specific topics that address their concerns. Often, well-respected writers tell you to write with one person in mind. In the marketing and business world, that content addresses the needs of their buyer persona. You can state the benefits of your content in the headline, make a comparison to other products and services, or refer to how you can help your reader achieve their goal. The most effective headlines show the return on their investment of time (reading your content). Whether that investment is time or money, you can create credibility and increase your value using reliable sources in the content and mentioning that in the headline. Encourage your audience to read your content by lending a helping hand to their common concerns. 

 “How to” and “Reasons why” headlines are the most popular because they can have a positive or negative focus and usually have numbers associated with them. 

Common Techniques for Crafting Ultra-Specific Uniqueness 

Give the audience a command

Set up a contradiction

The Bronze Rule – Keep it concise, yet catchy and captivating. 

William Zinsser, the author of On Writing Well, states brevity is the ultimate way to capture attention. The world is cluttered with content so to cut through it keep your headline short and simple. Strip your headline down to the point the only words in it are because they represent the three previous rules. Length isn’t as important as making sure there are no adverbs and no unless words describing how you feel, how you think, or what you saw. The bottom line is to be persuasive. 

Common Techniques for Crafting A Concise Headline

Try to summarize the content in 25 words and then edit that summary until it is a headline. This is a tip I got from the owner of KopywritingKourse, Neville Medhora. 

(Bonus) Headline Tools

If you still can’t think of anything for the headline or if you are short on time, try these three headline tools.




A General Rule for Headlines

A general rule is to spend half of your time on the body of the content and the other half on the headline. Create the content before you write the headline.

Final Thoughts on Headlines

Headlines can beat the odds by getting a larger portion of your audience’s attention. Using it to communicate a full message that provides value while emphasizing the importance of your content to the reader is critical. If it is believable, intriguing, and triggers a strong emotional response your headline will convert massive amounts of people into new readers of your content. Use the 4 rules to craft a headline that fits that criteria and watch your content data rise. Crafting a headline is part art and part science. Use them to convince the massive amount of people on the internet to convert into loyal consumers of your website, brand, product, book, etc. 

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