The 4 essential elements of reader-grabbing headlines

Painting a vivid picture that offers your audience a desired scenario will seize their attention and carry them along on your journey. But wait—there’s more! Look inside for other secrets…

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If you write a bad headline, you fail.

Consider this copywriting quote (one of the smartest you’ll ever read):

“No sentence can be effective if it contains facts alone. It must also contain emotion, image, logic and promise.”—Eugene Schwartz

Headlines are sentences, too, of course—the most important sentences there are.

If you write a bad headline—or book title or email subject line or anything else the audience is meant to consume first—nobody will care enough to read the rest of your sentences. Nobody will give a damn.

Don’t write headlines that are flat, invisible, like white paper on a white desk. Write compelling headlines that stand out—headlines that contain emotion, imagery, logic and promise.

Here are the key attributes that make any headline pop. Your headline should be:

1. Emotional

Make it dramatic, like this classic headline by John Caples:

“They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano—But When I Started to Play!”

This is among the most successful headlines of the 20th century, because it tells a story—or at least the beginning of one.

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