Popular celebrities or high profile brands are a very effective way to enhance your headlines.
It’s simple, yet powerful.
Your audience likes to associate with famous people, groups, events or products.
They aspire to have the same abilities and values. If they can be like them, they can be popular and successful too.
Your readers are instantly attracted to these brand association headlines.
Your readers are also attracted to the “easy life.”
Many people feel overwhelmed these days.
We all do at some time. We are busier than ever, just trying to stay afloat.
It can be really stressful.
We need to take a deep breath and find some solutions that make life simpler.
Though they may seem completely different, brand association headlines and headlines that offer peace of mind are quite similar.
Your readers are looking for the step-by-step guide that magically makes life better.
That’s why self-improvement books and courses are so popular.
These 15 headline templates offer the useful self-help and success tips your readers are craving.
Let’s dive in…
7 Brand Association Headlines
Brand association writing techniques are used every day in the media.
Brands have a huge influence on what we like and do.
They can retain a positive or valuable image. Or be equally reviled. Either way, brands are top of mind and drive action.
Your readers probably have a strong opinion about them too.
Use that to your advantage.
Insert a brand association into your headline to grab your reader’s attention and to add punch to otherwise me-too headlines.
Plus you can boost the relevance of your article by leveraging what’s red hot right now.
Celebrities, the latest breaking news, or the hottest product have a peak. Use that hit cycle to your advantage.
Just think of the countless highly visible people, groups or things you can leverage:
- People: Celebrities, politicians, athletes, newsmakers
- Groups: Companies, organizations, teams, nationalities (be careful not to offend)
- Things: best-selling products, award-winners, industry leaders, events, places
Now it’s your turn to brainstorm what’s the hot brand that your readers associate with.
EXERCISE: Create your own name-dropping list of famous people, groups, brands, events and places that are meaningful to your audience.List 5-10 popular, newsworthy names for the following:
- People (real or fictional) your audience aspires to or respects… or hates
- Brands or organizations your audience trusts completely
- Events or places that inspire your audience
- People, brands, or organizations that are unrelated to your niche, but could provide an off-beat reference instead of the usual niche-specific leaders
Let’s begin with one of my favorite headlines templates.
1. Action Like Famous Person : # Ways to Action/Goal
You’ve completed the exercise and have several famous people in mind.
What makes them special?
It’s probably because they are incredibly good at something. We are wowed by their amazing abilities.
Your readers want to know the secret of their success.
They think “if only I could do that too.”
Guess what? Your readers can if they read your article.
Just incorporate a person they are interested in and the desired skill or value into your headline.
Pro Tip: You don’t want a lawsuit.Brands and celebrities like to maintain what they’ve works so hard to achieve. They will protect themselves vigorously.
Here are three recommendations:
- You should be entertaining, but not slanderous or prejudiced.
- Keep your associations as factual or reasonable as possible.
- Clearly identify references and source materials.
- Write like JK Rowling: 7 Ways to Develop Characters Your Readers Love
- Cook like Anthony Bourdain: 5 Ways to Prepare the Perfect Meal in Under 15 Minutes
- Build Wealth like Donald Trump: 10 Ways to Manipulate the System in Your Favor
- Look like Kim Kardashian: 5 Shortcuts to Perfect Makeup Every Time
2. Famous Person’s Top 10 Tips for Action/Goal
This headline template is an alternate version of the previous template.
Now you’re adding a Top 10 lists.
The one-two punch of a celebrity and a how-to list makes this headline irresistible.
- Warren Buffet’s Top 10 Tips for Investing in Undervalued Companies
- Dumbledore’s Top 10 Tips for Managing Unruly Teenagers
- Michael Phelps’ Top 10 Tips for Building Long, Lean Muscles
- Vera Wang’s Top 10 Tips for the Perfect Wedding Dress on a Budget
3. Secrets of Famous Person/Group/Brand
Famous people or groups must have a secret to their success, right?
This headline template comes right out and says there are secrets.
This headline template works incredibly well because secrets play on our suspicions and curiosity.
The leaders and celebrities must be holding the formula to greatness.
Of course, they want to stay on top and aren’t likely to share it.
Fortunately, you’ve cracked the code to the vault and are sharing it with your readers.
- Secrets of the Supreme Court
- Secrets of the Real James Bond
- Secrets of Mickey Mouse and Working at Disney World
- The Rock’s Biceps Secret: 5 Ways to Dominate Your Next Arm Workout
4. Memorable Brand/Event : The Real Story
This headline template is a variation of the previous “Secrets” headline style. Using the phrase, “The Real Story” instead to grab your audience’s attention.
More importantly, the phrase tugs on even harder on your reader’s skepticism and curiosity.
That emotion is further heightened by the drawing power of the association with something famous.
The result – Your audience wants to find out more by reading your content.
- American Idol: The Real Story
- The European Debt Crisis: The Real Story
- Working at Facebook: The Real Story
- How the Olympic Flame Will Reach Brazil: The Real Story
5. Famous Person/Group/Brand vs. Famous Person/Group/Brand : Who Wins?
Competitions are more than just for sports.
Businesses, products, people, almost anything or anyone can be pitted against each other in comparison and competition.
These days, audiences are particularly attracted to celebrity competitions. They are entertaining.
Success versus Success. We want to see who wins.
Again there’s an element of curiosity to this headline. We want to find out why the winner won and the loser lost.
A star-studded competition headline can be a great introduction to your how-to content.
- iPhone vs. Android: Who Wins?
- Ellen vs. Oprah: Who Wins?
- Amazon vs. Wal-Mart: Who Wins?
- The Olympics vs. The Super Bowl: Who Wins?
6. The Famous Person/Group/Brand Guide to Action/Goal
This headline template draws more on desired association than curiosity.
You can leverage the how-to emphasis of a “guide” and amplify it by associating with a respected, world-class leader.
Companies or groups are ideal for this particular headline style.
- The Dahli Lama Guide to Inner Peace
- The Andy Worhol Guide to Decorating Your House
- The Starbucks Guide to Growing Your Business Quickly
- The New York Yankees Guide to Handling Tough Media Interviews
7. What Memorable Brand/Event Can Teach Us About Action/Goal
You see this headline or its variation “What You Can Learn from [Memorable Brand/Event] About [Blank]” in publications and on the news frequently.
At first glance, that headline seems very effective. Of course, we want to learn, right?
Learning may be the purpose of the article, but not a headline.
You’re trying to grab attention.
Amazingly we don’t really care that much about education. It’s kind of boring.
You won’t make it through your reader’s noise filter.
But there’s a trick to making this work.
The memorable brand or event you use has to be very emotional and very timely.
Feel free to use highly-charged current events (sometimes tragic news) to bolster your headline.
And make sure to leverage recent events when possible. Use the news cycle to your advantage.
- What Hurricane Katrina Taught Us About Rebuilding After a Crisis
- What New England Patriots Super Bowl Win Can Teach Us about Teamwork
- What You Can Learn from Neil Armstrong about Taking a Great Risk
- What You Can Learn from the Presidential Election about Social Media
Peace of Mind Headlines – Promising Your Readers a Simpler Life
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life was just a little bit simpler?
That’s all we need.
No more stress. No more headaches. No more problems.
We need a shortcut to get us through the mayhem faster.
That’s why self-improvement books and courses are always best sellers.
We want to calm our stress. Soothe our pains. Solve our problems.
We are looking for the step-by-step guide that quickly and magically makes life better.
The following “peace of mind” headline templates promise the life-changing guidance of a zen master.
EXERCISE: Develop a list of the troubling problems and processes your audience wants to eliminate. Write down 5-10 examples that answer each of the following questions.
- What are some unruly problems that take up a lot time?
- What recurring tasks or processes seemingly never end?
- What can make life simpler?
8 Peace of Mind Headline Templates
1. How to Take Control of Your Problem
Unruly problems are the core of what make people feel over-worked and stressed-out.
These problems nag us.
We worry about them.
We feel bad that they control us, not the other way around.
This headline template pokes that nerve.
It delivers an emotional trigger similar to fear headlines, but offers an answer.
The answer: Your article can help your audience take charge. Please read to find out how.
- How to Take Charge of Your Email Inbox
- How to Take Charge of Your Morning Commute
- How to Take Charge of Your Growing Credit Card Debt
- How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Messy Room
2. Can’t Keep up? # Ways to Simplify Your Problem
Asking the question, “Can’t Keep Up?” elicits a cry for help.
In this frenzied world, keeping up and not falling behind is often the goal we strive for.
Just treading water is okay.
You can almost feel the defeat.
Fortunately, you’re here to rescue your readers.
Pro Tip: You can also try “Get ahead”. It’s appealing to the go-getters in your audience.However, the positive nature can interestingly cause less emotional response than the negative “Can’t Keep Up”, but it can still be effective.
- Can’t Keep up? 11 Ways to Simplify Your Incomplete Projects
- Can’t Keep up? 7 Ways to Simplify Your Job Search
- Can’t Keep up? 5 Ways to Simplify Your Holiday Travel Plans
- Get Ahead! 15 Ways to Simplify Your Morning Routine
3. How to Action/Goal in # Minutes
Earlier in this series, we covered the many forms you can promote your content with How-to headlines.
This headline template takes the standard How-to headline and explicitly puts a brief amount of time it can take to complete the work.
The time element at the end of the headline provides a one-two punch that makes your audience read your information:
- Before: Mentioning time reminds the reader how much time they currently spend doing something. Groan. Too long.
- After: It gives them hope and something achievable. They want to find out how accomplish their goal much faster.
- How to Guarantee a Raise in 15 Minutes
- How to Write an eBook in 1 Hour
- How to Save $100 Grocery Bills in 5 Minutes a Week
- How to Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Minutes a Day
4. # Shortcuts for Finishing Complex/Tedious Task
You are pressed for time, but still you want to produce great results.
You just need a shortcut.
Faster is good. But even better, you want a shortcut that can help you get the job done.
This headline template delivers two powerful motivations for your readers.
It elicits the emotional pressure of being crunched for time and it sooths with a quick fix.
- 5 Shortcuts for Finding the Best TV to Buy
- 7 Shortcuts for Finishing Your Homework Fast
- 12 Shortcuts for Finishing Your Yard Work Fast
- 10 Shortcuts for Filing Your Taxes in Record Time
5. # Action/Thing Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Action/Goal
Shortcuts are good. But “hacks” and “cheats” are better.
Those specific words have an even greater impact for many readers. They are short and punchy too.
The reason these terms work so well is that they offer your readers an unfair advantage.
It lets your readers be a little bit bad (without breaking the law).
That’s exactly the type of fast solution that they want.
- 101 Diet Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Losing Weight
- 15 Sales Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Getting a Huge Bonus
- 25 Presentation Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for the Perfect Product Pitch
- 10 Tax Cheats That the IRS Won’t Notice
6. Get Rid of Recurring Problem Once and for All
Certain tasks or problems are seemingly never ever done.
These problems keep coming and coming relentlessly no matter how efficient we do them.
It’s really disheartening.
We just want them finished and gone forever.
No more nagging at us.
This headline style can work for any aggravating issue. But addressing a recurring problem where you can really make an impact.
Then you can offer a way to eliminate it… permanently.
- Get Rid of Your Love Handles Once and for All
- Get Rid of Low Gas Mileage Once and for All
- Get Rid of Black Mold Once and for All
- Get Rid of Your Drinking Problem Once and for All
7. How to End Problem
This headline template also states a concrete “end” to a problem.
It’s just more direct than the previous template.
But it still delivers the powerful promise of relief to your readers.
- How to End Your Boss Piling on More Work Than You Can Do
- How to End Sleepless Nights Worrying About Your Job
- How to End the Ups and Downs of Investment Portfolio
- How to End Your Back Pain without Surgery
8. The Zen of Action/Goal
Wouldn’t it be fantastic to reach a state of zen?
It is the ultimate in simplicity and serenity.
This headline template offers your readers a highly desirable combination:
- Escaping their overwhelming lives
- The “how-to” steps to achieve it
Pro Tip: Create some contrast to make this headline style more effective.Choose a topic that is a key factor that actually contributes to stress or feeling overwhelmed. The illogical nature will bring out the curiosity in your readers.
- The Zen of Speaking in Public
- The Zen of Wedding Planning
- The Zen of Email: 10 Steps to an Empty Inbox
- The Zen of Birthday Parties: How to Calm Frenzied 5 Year Olds and Find Joy
Brand association headlines are titillating.
Peace of Mind are rewarding.
Both attract readers with the promise of a better way of life.
These are the best-seller self-help books of headline writing.
And you just need to fill-in-the-blanks.
Next, we have the fourth and final installment in this headline writing series.
Plus, you’ll be able to download a worksheet with all 55 fill-in-the-blank headline templates.
Watch for it in your inbox.
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- Quidditch James, Prefect Lily and Wormtail by Spielbrick Films
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson 2009 NYC by David Shankbone
- Mark Zuckerberg interviewed by Financial Times, Scobleizer, and Techcrunch by Scobleizer
- Starbucks by Marco Pakoeningrat
- Tom Brady by Bduboff
- Cutting through the paperwork by Quinn Dombrowski
- Maze Puzzle (Blender) by FutUndBeidl
- Zen Universe by Greg Rakozy