Welcome to #1 of this 4 part headline template series!
Over the 4 days you’re going to receive 55 fill-in-the-blank headline templates.
And I’m going not only give you the instantly reusable templates.
There’s a lot behind why each of these headlines styles work so well.
The copywriting masters don’t just wing it when they use these headlines.
In the introductory post How to Write Irresistible Headlines, I shared the secrets behind highly effective headlines, titles, and subject lines.
Now we’re going to build on that.
First, you get each fill-in-the-blank headline template.
Then I’ll also give you examples and some insider tips that can help you become the master.
Here’s how it works.
To get the most out of this guide, I recommend that you do the following:
- Complete the quick exercise
Each set of templates starts with a quick exercise.
It’s easy. All you have to do is answer some simple questions.
These questions help you think about relevant and meaningful ideas for your audience or the particular topic.
These exercises put you in your readers’ shoes.
Writing incredible headlines becomes almost effortless by doing this little bit of extra thinking.
- Craft your own headlines as you read
Now you’re armed with examples from the exercises.
So you can easily draft a few headlines of your own as you read about each headline template.
You’ll have at least 15-20 high impact headlines that you can use right away by the time you’re finished reading this first part of the series.
- Download the headline templates
One of the 10 Quick Tips to Help You Write Irresistible Headlines Faster in the original article recommends that you start a swipe file.
I’ll give you a head start.
You get to download a worksheet with all 55 fill-in-the-blank templates at the end of the series.
Now let’s dive in.
The first set of fill-in-the-blank templates is all about How-To Headlines.
Give Your Readers a Blueprint
The How-to headline is the starting point for almost all headlines.
These are proven winners.
There is no deep, psychological wordplay involved.
These headlines tell your readers upfront that your article is delivering value.
I’m often surprised by how a simple “How to” title or subject line takes just a few minutes to write.
Yet it usually outperforms an originally-crafted headline I worked on all day.
Your audience wants a step-by-step guide that tells them what to do.
Opinions or ideas may be interesting, but they don’t directly offer concrete value at the headline level.
Vague idea headlines are easily passed over… even if the article is fascinating.
To get the attention of your audience, you need to clearly show them you can help them in a real, practical way.
- We want a blueprint when are building something.
- We want a cookbook or recipe when we’re cooking a fancy dinner.
- We want directions when we’re driving someplace we don’t know.
- We want to be given instructions to successfully achieve a goal, whatever it is.
That’s the basis of why the following How-to headlines templates are incredibly successful for any topic.
If you have guidance to give, then these headlines will lead people to it.
Prepare some ideas related to your subject so that you can start filling in the blanks to your How-to headline templates.
Write a list of 5-10 examples of the following opportunities and challenges your audience face:
- Goals and accomplishments – What valuable objectives do your audience want to achieve?
- Skills and abilities – What would your audience like to learn to do?
- Desired personal qualities – What would your audience like to be or be like?
- Challenges – What obstacles are in the way of achieving their goal?
Now you’re ready to go!
Top 10 How-To Headline Templates
1. How to Action/Goal
This headline template is as basic as it gets.
But it is to the point and drives action.
Readers are drawn to articles that help them do something.
This how-to headline says, “Here are the instructions. Get it done.”
It’s that straightforward.
- How to Learn Spanish
- How to Bake Perfect Cookies Every Time
- How to Build a Website
- How to Find Investments That Will Double
2. How to Action/Goal – The Ultimate Guide
This how-to headline promises your readers everything.
It signals that they are about to read something much, much more than some simple instructions or information.
This is the big one.
You can’t skip this.
Plus “Ultimate Guide” content is likely saved, bookmarked, shared and remembered.
It is important to note that this headline creates a very high expectation.
So make sure you deliver something epic.
The headline is perfectly matched for long-form content format, such as ebooks, research studies, white papers, or blog posts over 2,000 words.
You have to back up the lofty claim of an “Ultimate Guide.”
- How to Find a Date Online – The Ultimate Guide
- How to Master Action Photography – The Ultimate Guide
- How to Get Your First Book Published – The Ultimate Guide
- Public Speaking for Beginners – The Ultimate Guide
3. How to Action/Goal in Year
The perceived shelf-life of most information is very short these days.
Your audience can easily assume your advice is outdate, even if the how-to instructions don’t fundamentally change that much.
The newer your information, the more they trust it.
This headline tells your readers in a subtle way that your article delivers with the latest and greatest.
Another side benefit of putting the year in a headline is that it creates a sense of urgency.
It also says don’t miss this or you’ll be out-of-date and behind everyone else.
- How to Prepare for the GMAT in 2016
- How to Make a Viral Video in 2016
- How to Be the Most Popular Kid in School in 2016
- How to Get a Raise in 2016
4. How to Use Tool to Action/Goal
Tools help us get things done.
We just need to know how to use them in the best way.
This headline shows your audience that you can provide instructions how to use one of their tools in a specific way. Or to solve a specific problem.
Pro Tip: Remove the “to” in your how-to headline. You can increase your reader’s curiosity, while still effectively promising the how-to benefit. You can give the headline a personal subject, like “You”.For example, “How You Can Use Social Media to Generate More Leads”. Or you can simply modify the verb or action part of your headline. For example, “How Using Social Media Can Generate More Leads”.
- How to Use Social Media to Generate More Leads
- How to Use Compost to Fertilize Your Garden
- How to Use Rules to Unclutter Your Email Inbox
- How to Use Solar Panels to Cut Your Energy Bill by 90%
5. How to Action/Goal That Your Target Audience Will Love
This how-to headline style brings in a personal connection.
You can increase the emotional response to your headline by adding two personal elements:
- Use “Your”: Our brains are unconsciously self-centered and focused on what is good for “you”.
Plus, your writing tone shifts to your audience’s perspective.
As a result, you are more likely to make a connection and induce action.
- Name a Group of People: We’re social animals.
We are drawn to groups of people that are important to us – family, friends, or coworkers.
Add that target group into your headline.
You signal to your reader, “Hey, this was created for me.”
- How to Write Headlines Your Readers Will Love
- How to Give a Presentation that Even Your Worst Critic Will Love
- How to Serve Wine Your Dinner Guests Will Love
- How to Prepare Vegetables Your Kids Will Love
6. How to Be Personal Quality
This is the headline version of the self-help book.
You know how popular self-help books are, right?
People are motivated by what they can and desire to be.
We imagine transforming ourselves and our lives.
Being better as a person.
Improving oneself can be an incredibly intense emotion that we have to act on.
Providing how-to guidance on how to be more is often more powerful than instructions on how to do something.
This headline taps into that.
- How to Be Confident
- How to Be a Great Writer
- How to Be Calm Under Pressure
- How to Be Healthier and Live Longer
7. How to Action/Goal – Even If Obstacle
Have you ever read a headline and thought, “That won’t work for me because [insert excuse].”?
That reaction isn’t exactly self-sabotage.
It’s your information filter kicking into action.
You are quickly filtering out the need to read that article at that moment.
Everybody does it.
If you deliver a weak headline, your article will be filtered out and not read.
How do you counter that?
Directly acknowledge a common obstacle or challenge to success.
Everybody believes their individual situation is special and unique. Psychologically we are self-centered.
By adding a common obstacle into the headline, you’ve made the reader feel that this article was written for them and their exact situation.
- How to Lose Weight – Even If You Hate Diets
- How to Build a Website – Even If You Aren’t a Programmer
- How to Get an A in Math – Even If You Struggle with Multiplication
- How to Finish a Marathon – Even If You Have Never Run a Mile
8. How to Action/Goal Without Negative Reaction
This headline template also leverage an objection or something your audience wants to avoid.
But it does it in a different way than #7.
This headline taps into a psychological tension called cognitive dissonance.
Let me explain.
You want to do something. You want to succeed really, really bad.
But there is a negative reaction that is very likely to happen.
So you’re not sure if you’re willing to do what’s necessary to get it done.
That negative tension is cognitive dissonance.
However, for headline writers, this tension is a big opportunity.
Unconsciously that tension makes us pay more attention. Our brain is trying to find a solution to the conflict and makes us stop.
A how-to headline that plays into cognitive dissonance is really effective for two reasons.
First, the headline has stopping power.
Second, it promises a solution to the conflict.
- How to Pay Less Taxes Without Being Audited by the IRS
- How to Vacation in Hawaii Without Spending a Fortune
- How to Lose Weight Without Going to the Gym
- How to Work Just 10 Hours a Week Without Getting Fired
9. How to Action/Goal and Action/Goal
What’s better than delivering how-to instructions to achieve one goal.
Conquering two goals!
Promising two solutions in a single headline adds extra punch to a standard how-to headline.
The relationship between the two benefits amplifies your message.
You can apply this approach in two ways:
- Combine related benefits: Matching the first benefit to the second one leads to a larger benefit that is bigger than the sum of the parts.
- Make an intriguing contrast: An improbable mix of two counter-intuitive benefits is simply irresistible.
- How to Work Smarter and Get a Bigger Raise
- How to Graduate from College and Find Your Dream Job
- How to Fire Your Sales Team and Double Your Sales
- How to Stop Replying to Email and Improve Your Communications
10. How to Action/Goal While You Different Action
This headline template triggers the perplexing thought of doing two things at once.
Yep. Makes you curious.
It makes you stop. And then likely to read on.
Your audience wants to find out if it’s even possible. And if it is true, then how would they do it.
Fortunately you have the answer.
- How to Burn Fat While You Sleep
- How to Boost Your Energy While You Sit at Your Desk
- How to Check Your Mail While You’re Away on Vacation
- How to Increase Your Productivity While Taking a Break
I love How-to headlines.
Nothing can better signal your readers that your article delivers value.
And now it’s easy for you to write these headlines like a professional copywriter.
You’ve got the best 10 super easy fill-in-the-blank templates. Right at your fingertips.
These are proven winners.
Better yet, this is just the start.
These 10 headline templates are part #1.
Next up, you get 16 more high impact headline templates.
Get ready for Fear and Mistake Headlines.
Watch you inbox.
They’re coming for you!
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