Sucker Punch Headlines

Posted on 03/29/18 in all posts, copywriting, No Comments

In this report I’m going to outline a simple method for you to write attention grabbing headlines in a very quick amount of time, without much effort and very little conscious thought.

The reason why you should add this method to your arsenal is simple: it works in a pinch when the deadline is due, when you’re out of ideas, or simply when you just want to get it done and get on to the next project.

There are several other reasons why this method comes in handy. The first is that is protects you from making the big headline rookie mistake and that’s blindly following the old “copy dogs”.

This is not smart for three reasons. First, markets become “used to” certain marketing tactics, and thus what works changes over time. It used to be that the only thing you needed was a big fat benefit headline in order to be successful.

Now everyone has used them to death and they don’t have the same attention-getting power they once had.

Also, online has transformed the game. Offline it costs an arm and a leg to test, so there is more at stake. At the same time, there is a “time disconnect”. You can’t get immediate feedback offline. Online, you can know if you ad is a winner or not in under an hour if you so desire.

That’s a point a lot of ad writers aren’t getting. I want to give you a system to bang out headlines that you can test quickly and see how good they are, instead of getting stuck in “pondering” mode. Hence, the system I have devised and personally use for writing headlines very quickly.

10 Minute Headline System Overview

My goal is to teach you a process that will allow you to create a headline in 10 minutes or less that should be good enough to turn a profit, but requires no effort, thought or skill on your part.

The reason that I can design a system that performs this criteria is simple: most good headlines have three simple components to them that you can build very quickly.

The second reason is that the 80/20 rule exists in everything. So what I’ve done is performed “information condensing” and threw out all but the vital few elements that make or break a headline. By clearing the clutter out of the way, we can get right down to business to craft something that is most likely to succeed with the least amount of effort.

Too much information is never a good thing, contrary to what you might’ve heard. It’s better to know just enough than too much.

So here’s all you really need to know: benefit + emotional response + incongruency = killer headline in 10 minutes or less.

In other words, if you can communicate the biggest and best benefit your copy is promoting, tie it into a powerful emotional response, and then add in a “what the heck… how is that so?” mechanism, you’re probably going to hit pay dirt.

Now I’m going to show you how to do all of those things.

How to Locate Your Biggest and Baddest Benefit

Okay, it’s all a speculation. That’s why nothing is a sure thing. But there’s a way to get in the ball park and select the right benefit without a whole lot of thinking.

Here’s what you do. Pull out a timer and give yourself 2 minutes. Write down every benefit you can think of related to the product you’re promoting. Combine benefits together. Rephrase them. Do whatever. After 2 minutes are up, scan back down the list and pick the one benefit phrase that you think will be the strongest!

It’s that simple.

Some benefits to keep in mind: faster, bigger, better, stronger, longer lasting, more effective, easier, simpler, requiring less effort, cheaper, higher quality, getting a bargain, having more control, etc. etc.

Now you’re ready to move onto step 2.

How to Create a Compelling Emotional Response to Get People to Read Your Ad

Your headline has one purpose: to get people to read your advertisement. So your headline has to engage them. One of the best ways is to tap into an emotion and change their state.

The best emotions are fear, frustration, and anger. If you can get any of these three, start here. If you can’t, go to the “positive” alternatives, such as happiness, courage and reduction of stress. There are other emotions, and if they come to you quickly while you’re brainstorming, all the better. But I usually do pretty good just with fear, frustration and anger.

Let’s say you’re selling a product on how to raise your child. How can you evoke fear? By painting a picture of the reader’s child being in danger! That will get them likely to read it.

Let’s say, for example, that more and more children are being abducted in shopping malls. How to tap into that emotion:

“The hidden danger many children face at shopping malls…”

Can we tie into a big fat benefit? Of course!

“The hidden danger many children face at shopping malls… and how you can immediately protect your child and take control of any unsafe situation that may present itself”

Another example, this time using anger and adding in the benefit:

“Why Your Real Estate Agent is Probably Lying to You and Cheating you… And how you can gain the upper hand and get your dream home at 10-20% below market value!”

Now you’re ready to bring it home with the last step…

How to Make it Impossible for Your Prospect to NOT Read Your Ad by Using Incongruency

Our brain is programmed to immediately discount information that isn’t unique. It’s a survival mechanism on the deepest level. It also helps us process all the information our senses perceive, and then sort that information by importance.

One way to get the brain’s attention is to take two things that normally don’t’ belong together, and then put them together. That’s what I call incongruency.

Let’s take our earlier child safety headline:

“The hidden danger many children face at shopping malls… and how you can immediately protect your child and take control of any unsafe situation that may present itself”

What if we slightly changed it to make it incongruent by doing this:

“The hidden danger many children face at shopping malls… and how a 34 year old ex-rock star discovered a method to protecting your childing and taking complete control of any unsafe situation”

Okay, what doesn’t belong? What the heck does a 34 year old ex-rock star have to do with child safety? So, I’ve engaged your emotions, I’ve promised a big benefit and then I made you want to find out about the thing that doesn’t belong there.

I’m really stacking the deck in my favor.

It’s not hard at all to come up with these incongruencies. Just try to think of something about the product that’s true, unique and/or odd, that normally doesn’t get associated with it.

If you need inspiration, look no further than your television. Almost every show these days has a hook. I love the show “monk”. Here the hook is that the detective has OCD and can barely function in society, yet is a master sleuth. Compare that to “columbo”. Here the character is kind of a bumbling idiot who just happens to have a sixth sense about spotting criminals. Two different hooks for the same position.

Macguyver was the action hero who used everyday common household items! House is the doctor who defies all doctoral ethics, and hates people, but yet is brilliant at saving them! And so on and so on. Just look at compelling characters and plot lines on television, and you’ll find almost all of them have a hook.

Then use these inspirations to twist your own headlines. Remember, you want to come with something that shouldn’t be there but somehow is there…