The Secret Formula for Writing Mesmerizing Headlines

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I admit it – I’m guilty of this just because I think the “right word” says so much more than the “almost-right word”. So I catch myself spending a huge amount of time and energy trying to come up with the PERFECT headline.

The thing is – your readers won’t appreciate all that time and effort you spent. They’re not judging you based on how witty, clever and talented you are. They’re just looking for a quick, direct and helpful answer to their question. Put aside the desire to create catchy titles and start concentrating on your visitors’ most pressing question – “What’s in it for me?”

Writing great headlines isn’t so much an art as it is a process – and there really is a “secret formula” behind it. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to concoct a riveting headline that keeps your readers glued to the screen from start to finish.

Secret Formula Ingredient #1 – Stop Worrying About It

The more you stress about writing the perfect headline, the less you tend to focus on the body and the real “meat” of your post or article. The end result shows a promising headline, but a weak, flimsy result.

When this happens, people walk away from reading feeling unfulfilled and disillusioned. An amazing promise in the “perfect headline” had better deliver something extraordinary, and that’s a pretty tall order to live up to. When you stop worrying about making it “just right” and concentrate on saying exactly what it is – you free up an immense amount of time and energy toward making sure the body and closing of your text pack as much punch as your headline and introduction.

Secret Formula Ingredient #2 – Concentrate On Your Audience

So many potentially great sales letters hit rock bottom when it comes to conversions because they focus all their effort on the product or service being sold. They bring out the heavy artillery with bonuses, guarantees and raving testimonials – but these are just icing on the cake. They don’t make your readers sit up, take notice and say “Yes! This is what I’ve been looking for!”

To get that kind of response, think about your ideal customer – what are they struggling with? What’s keeping them up at night, and more importantly, what can you do that will help them? That’s the kind of announcement you want to boldly proclaim in your headline and then immediately reinforce with a powerful introduction that leads into your body text.

Secret Formula Ingredient #3 – Test, Test and Test Again

I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with who look at headline testing like it’s a chore. They’re certain – they’ve got a “gut feeling” that this headline or that headline will work. And when it doesn’t perform, they’re left without any core data as to why. The key to successful headline testing is to simply start somewhere.

No one knows which headline will outperform or which one will fall flat. Just start testing and find out for yourself. There are plenty of commercial services like and as well as free and low cost A/B split testing and multivariate testing server scripts that produce very nice looking, easy to understand charts and results.

And Remember, No One Has All the Answers

Even copywriting gurus test and tweak their headlines because even they don’t get it “perfect” on the first, second or even the third try. What’s more – they grab ideas and inspiration from everywhere – magazine covers and newspaper headlines, direct mail pieces and catalog descriptions. In the writing business, it’s appropriately called a “swipe file”, and is usually a folder full of great headlines or bullet points that we can tweak, update and add to.

So now that you know the secret formula, you can confidently start writing your own incredibly persuasive and compelling headlines for any niche. Try it now in the comments section below!



Sherice Jacob
Sherice Jacob helps site owners improve website performance and increase conversions through her blog and custom design service at iElectrify. You can also follow @sherice on Twitter for more big bangs of inspiration and design coolness.
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  • David

    ….and what pray tell was secret about any of that?

  • Bharath Reddy

    Good one…I always use try to putup some catchy from the big list was “Google God Came to My Dreams Last Night” LoL!!!

  • Arrow SEO

    There is no secret ingredients. But great points to follow, thanks!

    • Dipali

      @Arrow SEO, Its not secret recipe but its the magic of title that you came to read this article and posted comment. this the secret tell behind this title of article. I think Sherice has done awesome job.

  • Glenn A

    Promising in a headline and not delivering can be effective, but savvy online readers won’t be back. I’m outta here.

  • Sherice

    The idea isn’t to lure you in with the headline and then flake out in the content. Usually the ones who roll their eyes and say “I already know this!” are the ones with “Welcome to our Website” in a big H1 tag on their page.

    If you already know these points and use them in your writing, you’re just one step ahead of those that don’t know.