Despite the increased popularity of digital marketing, traditional marketing and advertising practices are still important today. Copywriting in particular remains vital in the marketing world because whether it’s an article headline or a tweet, digital marketers must write in a way to attract their audiences’ attention.

Here are 6 copywriting techniques you should use to develop attention-capturing headlines:

1. Mention the target audience in the headline
If you want to target marketers, mention the word “marketer” in the headline. If you want to target web designers, include the words “web designer” in the headline.

Mentioning your target audience in the headline helps capture their attention because they know the copy is relevant to them.

Examples include Why Marketers Need a Programming Background and For Men over 35 Who Want to Lose Weight Quickly.

2. Include clients’ pains
In addition to mentioning the target audience in the headline, remember to include client pains. Including challenges clients face helps highlight that your content addresses their needs and grasp readers’ attention.

For example, a headline which states To Content Writers Who Want to Write New Articles but Can’t Get Started or How Content Writers Can Develop New Articles When They Don’t Have the Slightest Clue suggests that the article will give content writers tips on how they can develop new articles even when they have writer’s block.

3. Use digital numbers
Using digital numbers in headlines guarantees the reader what benefits you’ll present and make the deliverables concrete. Readers enjoy seeing concrete numbers because they like to know how many benefits they’ll receive.

An example of this kind of headline is 12 Ways to Grow Your Twitter Audience without Spending a Single Ad Dollar.

4. Use unusual verbs or adjectives
Use unusual verbs or adjectives to make your headlines stand out from the crowd.

Headlines such as 8 Boring But Effective Ways to Improve AdWords Click-through Rate and 5 Horrifying SEO Tactics You Should Never Perform are atypical and can grasp the audience’s attention because they’re different.

5. Play the devil’s advocate
Instead of writing headlines such as 5 Reasons Why I Developed a Responsive Website or Why Every Online Retailer Needs a Responsive Site which focus on the benefits of using a product, approach, or service, develop headlines that emphasize the consequences of not doing something. This approach motivates through fear and curiosity. It encourages readers to find out what not to do as a way to recommend a product, service, or course of action.

Examples include Why Refusing to Develop a Responsive Site Was the Worst Business Decision of My Life and How a Mobile-Only Site Almost Cost My Entire Business!

6. Create a mental image
At 60 Miles an Hour, the Loudest Noise in This New Rolls-Royce Comes from the Electric Clock” – David Ogilvy.

Creating a strong mental image helps your audience visualize the sexiness of your product. David Ogilvy’s ad above is the perfect example.

By describing the speed and the only sound a driver hears when driving a new Rolls-Royce, David Ogilvy sparked readers’ own imagination to visualize the steadiness, quietness, and power of a brand new Rolls-Royce. This technique definitely increased many car enthusiasts’ purchase intentions!

Effective copywriting tactics are even more important in today’s marketing world because there’s more competition between brands for readers’ ever-shorter attention spans.

By using the six approaches above, you can develop emotionally-provoking headlines that specifically target a consumer group, address the audience’s needs, spark readers’ imagination, excite fear and curiosity, and promise concrete results.

If you’ve questions about copywriting or techniques you want to share, please tweet me at @theraywang!

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