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If You Can Play Mad Libs, You Can Create Great Headlines

Writing compelling headlines can be agonizing for even the most seasoned copywriter. Why? Because headlines are crucial to motivating your target audience to read what you’ve written. You can have the most fascinating or informative blog post or article, but if it lacks a captivating headline, most readers will skip right over it.

A catchy headline serves just one purpose: to entice your readers to spend precious moments of their time reading your content. Fortunately, people have similar psychological hard-wiring, so a handful of copywriting tactics will be effective for much of your audience.

In general, the most effective headlines either:

  • Hint at solutions to a reader’s problems
  • Answer the “What’s in it for me?” question
  • Instill fear that there is a problem that maybe the reader doesn’t know about
  • Ask a question, which naturally motivates people to want to answer or find out the answer
  • Promise something pleasurable

That being said, you should always write honest headlines – nothing destroys your credibility and readers’ trust faster than making false promises.

While I cover headline writing in depth in my book, Content First Marketing, I’ve also created a free Headline Tool on our website. The Headline Tool is a simple yet powerful tool that automatically creates several potential headlines.

Let the Tool Take the Headache Out of Writing Headlines

The headline tool takes the pain out of writing headlines by providing you with a series of questions / fields to fill in related to your topic, similar to the Mad Libs game — and it takes about the same amount of time! Complete some or all of the 27 fields, then you’ll be presented with a list of 27 potential headlines. While every headline suggested might not be a fit, chances are you’ll find some ideas you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

In the following example images, we entered variables to generate a headline for an article about writing headlines:

Headline Tool Example

Let’s Get Started

  1. Visit ContentFirst.Marketing.
  2. Register for an account by clicking the Register link in the upper right.
  3. Complete the fields and the system will email you a confirmation link.
  4. Click the confirmation link in the email.
  5. Return to ContentFirst.Marketing and click the Free Tools tab on the navigation bar, then Headline Tool.
  6. Once on the Headline Tool page, create a name for your headline project.
  7. On the Variables tab, you see a list of fields with prompts. Click the ? icon if you need an example of the prompt.
  8. Complete some or all of the fields.
  9. When you’re done, click the Headlines tab to see your list of suggestions.
  10. The system saves your project so you can come back to it anytime. You can also revise your input variables if you don’t find something that works the first time.

That’s it! With this free Headline Tool from ContentFirst.Marketing, you’ll be on your way to creating catchy headlines and increasing readership.

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3 thoughts on “If You Can Play Mad Libs, You Can Create Great Headlines”

  1. Vick says:

    Super helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Simon S. says:

    Great tool. I played around with it for a while and I think it will be a great help. The headline is the most important and most difficult part to write.

  3. Austin Rogers says:

    Nice one. I’ll be adding this to my favorites and visiting frequently.

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