Helpful Tips For Creating Impressive Headlines

Young funny man in glasses writing on typewriter

Today’s guest post is by Chassie Lee. She is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of Ultimate Vocabulary which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.


There’s no doubt most bloggers struggle to create unique headlines. You must grab a reader’s attention and the headline is by far the best way to engage a reader.

What makes a reader skip over a headline? Remember that people consume content superficially. They scroll down their Facebook feed mechanically, only stopping when something shocks or impresses them. When all headlines look the same, and nothing piques their interest anymore.

Whatever the cause, you can find the solution by learning to create compelling headlines that get your content noticed.

Know Your Audience Really Well.

One reason that headlines are ignored is that they’re not tailored or optimized for the intended audience.

You must have a very clear idea of who it is you’re writing for. You need to know what they’re concerned with, what their problems are, and how you can present them with the solution they need.

See what you audience responds well to by looking at posts and other online media they have shared, liked, and commented on, both on your own website and on those you’re writing for.

Use Proven Headline Strategies.

Effective headlines tap into the science of human psychology. Headlines should evoke curiosity, include numbers, be specific, ask questions the audience cares about, and include the element of surprise.

People are drawn in when you surprise and challenge them, and even more attracted by the opportunity to express their membership or exclusivity in a community.

That’s why headline formulas like these really work:

“Little known ways to write better headlines”

“Create headlines like David Ogilvy”

“5 tips for writing headlines people will love”

“Who else wants better headlines for their blog posts?”

“Little known ways to __________” speaks to the human need for becoming better and finding out things that other people don’t know. People compete with each other in many ways. Success is about going to places others don’t or can’t, and these “little known ways” imply an exclusivity, a promise of achieving that success.

The same applies for the second formula. “Create [something] like [top example you can think of]” is a phrase that piques our curiosity and ties into our aspirations to be as good as the best people in our chosen field, sport, niche, or neighborhood.

Six-Word Headlines Work Best

According to a KISSmetrics usability research reveals that the ultimate headline is six words long.

Readers tend to only read the first three and last three words when looking at a headline, so making it six words long allows you to hit the sweet spot. Users will read your headline, get hooked, and read further.

The Ultimate Headline Formula

Jeff Goins says there’s an ultimate headline formula for creating headlines that rock every single time.

That formula is as follows: Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rationale + Promise

Here’s an example:

5 research-backed ways to create attractive headlines people will love

Experiment with several formulas to find those that resonate best with your audience. Write shorter and longer headlines using different formats, and check the click rates. Most importantly, invest time in creating your headlines. You might have to write 50 headlines that don’t work before you come up with one that grabs your readers’ attention, but that’s time you won’t regret.

David Ogilvy said that on average only eight in ten readers will bother reading a headline. Of those eight, just two will read further.

Make sure you give your readers a reason to read on.


What is your biggest struggle with writing headlines? Share in the comments.


The 3 kinds of writers and why one DOMINATES the competition



Ever feel like only a select group of writers are really crushing it?

Not just one time; it’s the same group that are consistently dominating the rest. They have the bestsellers, they get the most traffic, they get the social shares and have great products.

Who says you can’t do the same? YOU CAN.

You likely have the writing chops to THRIVE instead of barely survive.

“There are three different kinds of writers:

Those who write without thinking.

Those who think while they write.

The writers who think before they write.”

Very few writers fall into the last category.

That is a summary of something once said by Victor O. Schwab. (Who wrote this great book you really should buy.)

If you want to stand out, think before you write.

If you aren’t getting the response you want, many times problem often lies in your approach.

Many—if not most—writers sit in front of the computer, type out something and then just publish it.

This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

There’s no strategy, no vision, no reason for publishing other than some “expert” said to post everyday (or every other day.)

Very, very few work on a headline for a few hours.

Take any “rule” you read as a suggestion and then put your own personality into it.

Be opinionated. Be willing to be wrong. Be willing to stand out and even look a little foolish. The good news is, you have thought about what you are writing, so even if you are wrong, you have good reasoning behind it.

It’s better to be wrong for the right reasons than it is to just flat out get lucky for no reason.

You’re a writer. You aren’t playing the “I’m going to be famous for that one thing I wrote that one time” game.

Let’s chat about this more in the comments. What is your writing approach? How can you take your writing to a new level?



Dear writer with countless half-finished stories

Man dreaming over books

I know how you feel. It absolutely sucks to have a pile of half finished works laugh at your face. The scribbled sentences start to taunt you and the blank pages stare back with contempt.

Or maybe you are just starting out and you are paralyzed with indecision, afraid to start.

But the truth is, no writer on the planet has everything figured out, even if they act like they do (especially online).

Fear plays a very large role in the writing process.

Stories change as you write them. No writer writes the book they first envision in their head. It is common for your interests to change in a blink of an eye — especially if you spend too much time online. (Here are two ways to spend more time writing instead of spinning your wheels.)

The best writing advice in the world is really simple: just write.

But please allow me to elaborate — you have to be willing to suck. Even when every part of you wants to stop. Even when you start to hate every word you’ve written, you have to finish.

The perfectionist inside your head is your worst enemy. (Click to Tweet)

You do not really know until you finish something if a piece is good or not. But the inner critic acts as if you know how the puzzle looks before it is actually finished.

Ignore the inner critic and keep your head down. Put words on the page.

Don’t forget that 99.999% of all rough drafts absolutely suck. They do. Rewriting and editing is what makes your stories shine. But no editor can help you with a story that is not finished. Complete the rough draft. You will make it better.

Clarity only comes with hard work. You must put in the work. There is no substitute. This could mean spending 8 hours on a blog post that gets no traction. Spending a month on a short story that is mediocre.

Pull a page out of the pile and just finish the story. You’ve got this. Just keep writing. Whatever you do, keep writing.

Need more help? I can help you by offering you practical, useful ways to finish your work and grow as a writer.

5 Marketing Ingredients That Make You A Better Writer

vintage book and light bulb on wood table

You push the post button and you wait for it.

Wait for it.


Your audience isn’t growing; even your current audience is not very engaged with you.

But here’s the good news–in most cases, the problem is not your lack of writing talent.

The truth is you’re not just a writer. You’re also a marketer.

Most writers hate marketing and often view it as the younger brother of the aggressive sale (which is often done by a guy in an ugly plaid sport coat).

But that’s just one style of marketing.

You don’t have to do that.

Let’s say you sit down and watch Gigli, Glitter and Batman and Robin ( you know the one with Ah-nold as Mr. Freeze) all in a row.

First off, I’m sorry for you. Suddenly, you are talking about how much you hate movies, right?

You may even say, “I hate movies.”

But the real problem is you were watching bad movies.

You have a bad taste in your mouth from the negative experience, because, well, you’re human.

The same concept applies to marketing, but don’t let the bad examples discourage you.

Marketing is not optional. If you don’t like marketing, the problem is you have not found the right approach for you.

Whether you write books, blog posts, articles or social media updates you must be a good marketer to get the reader’s attention.

Marketing is the blood in your veins as a writer. It is that important.

So how can you apply this to your current writing?

Here are five essential elements of great marketing:

1. Be honest, authentic and sincere.

The world is full of highlight reels being presented as real life. Don’t add to that. Be human. Please allow me to give a shout out to my wife here and also my friend Sarah Mae. Both are just fantastic examples of this. In some ways, Sarah is my original marketing mentor. (See example here of how smart and real she is.)

2. Tell stories and invite people in. 

Good stories are extremely powerful. Do not ever overlook this. Good stories have a specific structure too. Don’t hesitate to get an editor to ensure your story is engaging. Outside perspective allows you to see things you normally don’t see on your own.

3. Focus on helping others.

Treat people like people. Don’t be afraid to ask for a sale–especially when you know what you have can help. Good marketing does not manipulate people. I’ll repeat that because it is so important: good marketing does not manipulate people. Instead, it serves people.

4. Clarity is absolutely essential. 

With the many choices out there, you have to make it very clear what it is you are about and what you stand for. Otherwise, people will get confused. So if you are writing a book, if it isn’t clear what the book is about, it will not sell. If you write a blog and it is all over the place topic wise, people won’t read it.

5. Be willing to be weird. 

Don’t think in terms of comparing yourself to others. Break all of the rules and do something others view as odd. Do something unique that no one else is doing. Being a copycat accomplishes nothing. In 2015, you must be willing to differentiate yourself from everyone else. You also must embrace failure as a part of the process. It will happen. But don’t view it as failure–you can call it the refining process. The more you fail, the more you win. A scientist doesn’t stop after one try–he keeps experimenting. Never stop innovating. You are much more creative than you think you are.

Lastly, write about something that is bigger than you or it will not spread. 

Marketing is NOT about self-promotion. Whatever you write about, it must connect with the reader. If you write fiction, it must keep the reader entertained and be enjoyable; take the reader on an adventure. Writing is not a selfish act. If you say you write only for yourself, that’s called journaling which is great, but very different than writing for an audience.

Write for a reason: to give hope, to inspire, to make others laugh or to entertain, etc. Figure out what your purpose for writing is and focus in on it. This will help make you a better writer and marketer too.

If you feel stuck with where you are as a writer or marketer, fire me an email or leave a comment below. Let’s chat about it so you can find clarity and form a plan.

15 Ways To Jumpstart Your Writing Career THIS Summer

Girl writer

So you want to be a professional writer.

That’s the goal, right?

First off, I want to congratulate you–most people don’t know what it is they really want.

This means you can’t treat writing like a hobby; this is your future career we are talking about here.

If you are willing to work really hard and be very dedicated, I know you can do it.

A Word of Warning

Before we dive deeper, you must pay close attention to your emotions. Do everything you can in your mind to avoid the comparison trap. You may have to do some intentional free work or poorly paying work to get your foot in the door.

Your writing journey is not going to be exactly like someone else’s.

You’ll need some thicker skin to do this; rejection comes with the territory.

So just know that going in too.

Success comes only when you show up consistently over time.

Without further ado, here are 15 ways to get traction with your writing career:

1. Writing Blog Posts For Other Websites.

This kind of like guest posting, but in most cases you won’t get credit for the writing. You could call it ghostblogging if you want a term for it. This is by far one of the most common ways that many writers make income from writing. Every blog needs great content on a regular basis to both have impact and to stay relevant. You know you can provide this—and you have the experience to prove it in the form of your blog. 

The Problogger Job board is very a popular place to find some of this work.  Rates are all over for this kind of writing, from free to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per post. When first starting out, don’t worry about what a gig pays; just do as many as possible if you really want to pursue a writing career.

Pro Tip: Sign up for the Morning Coffee Newsletter. This great resource actually sends you open writing positions to your email. Apply for the jobs that interest you.

2. Rewriting Resumes and Cover Letters.

If you have a lot of experience with resumes or cover letters, this is a great area to consider. When starting out, go for the direct connection first. Let others in your network know you do it. Facebook is fantastic for this. Rates typically range from $100-500. (Please note that all dollar figures are just a guide.)

Pro Tip: Check out some of the top resume sites and talk to any friends you have in HR or who own a small business to see what they specifically look for in a resume.

3. Rewriting Webpages.

One great example is rewriting an About Me page or writing a FAQ page. The Start Here page is quickly replacing many pages, so study some great examples such as this one or this one. Write–or rewrite–a few for some bloggers you know to improve and you’ll likely have some solid recommendations as well.

Pro Tip: Remember, most web writing is really copywriting; to improve your skills, I highly recommend going to Demian Farnworth’s awesome website and listening to his podcast.

4. Writing Emails.

Writing good emails (that actually get opened and people respond to) is truly an art form. If you have experience with email marketing, your skills are VERY MUCH in need. This would work really well with as a service that focuses on product launches. Figure around $30-75 an hour for this service.

Pro Tip: Go through your own email inbox. What have you actually opened? What have you responded to? What have you purchased because of an email? Make notes of what emails stand out and reverse engineer them.

5. Writing Newsletters.

Newsletters are a great way to stay connected to the audience and this does not have to be writing the entire newsletter; even just outlining or co-writing newsletters is a very valuable service in great demand. Pricing estimates vary, so assume around $30-100 an hour.

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that newsletters are written for a specific audience. Look at the ones you like and analyze why you like them. For example, I really like Amy Lynn Andrew’s Useletter and Blake Atwood’s Newsletter.

6. Write a Book Yourself.

The best part of this option is that you have total control of this. You are the boss. You will not know how much money you will make from it, but with proper research and if you know your audience well, you can make money from a book.

Yes, this will likely take a month or two. But you can surprise yourself with how much you can write in a very short amount of time. I recently created a new course called Write Publish Share that takes you through the ENTIRE book writing and publishing process. (Assuming you purchase level 1 of the course, plus a great cover, editing and marketing, you can have a finished book in hand for $500 to $1000. Even less if you barter your services for editing and a cover.)

7. Write a book for someone else.

Many who want to write a book don’t have the time or ability to write a book. In most cases, the ghostwriter does interviews or gets an outline from the author and then writes the book. This is actually really straightforward and the author is the one who gets credit for the book. The ghostwriter is just paid a flat amount for the work. Typically, a ghostwriter is paid 50% up front and 50% upon completion of the book. Ghostwriting costs range from as low as $5K to around $20K to write a book.

8. Write Tweets or Social Media Updates.

Do this for someone else and load them into an app like Buffer or Hootsuite. This takes time, so many writers put it off. If you can keep someone connected to others on social, there is great demand for this. If you are good with photos, you could design photos using an app like to make customized photos and artwork. Figure between $30-100 an hour for this service. 

Pro Tip: Engage with a business or blog that does not have much of a presence in social media. Just offer to help out for free and do some high quality work that blows them away. More often than not that will lead to some freelance work. 

9. Write Sales Copy For Books.

Not just on Amazon, but on all locations the book is available for sale such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. You could also write the sales copy for the book’s landing page as well. Between $.15-.50 cents a word is a good estimate there.

10. Writing For Magazines.

Magazines—both physical and online magazines often pay writers well. The only downside is that you often have to submit a quarry and the process can be more time consuming. Being paid a dollar a word is quite common with some magazines. It really depends on each publication.

11. Doing Transcriptions.

There is a great demand for this, especially for podcasters. Obviously it will take time to be proficient with this skill, but once you get good at transcribing, you can work very quickly and make good money doing it. Average rates go from $30-150 to transcribe an hour of audio with one to two people talking.

12. Writing Show Notes for Podcasters.

Most podcasters can’t stand to do this. This and editing the podcast are the two biggest pain points I consistently hear from podcasters. The cost will depend on the detail of the show notes and now long the podcast is in length; a good guide would be between $15-35 for one episode.

13. Find Other Problems and Offer Solutions.

This can focus on writing depending on how you do it. If you read an ebook full of typos, contact the author and offer to fix them for free or for a fee (the choice is up to you and where you are in your writing journey).

14. Writing for Magazines.

My good friend Kelsey Humphreys is a contributor for and while this may not be a paying gig, it often leads to other opportunities, such as speaking engagements. Heck, Kelsey is actually speaking at Launch Out later this week!

15. Check Out Elance/Odesk/Fiverr.

Yes, there are a lot of extremely low paying gigs on these sites, but I know several people who have done well posting here. The rates are all over the map on these websites. I have not had much success with this, but in all honesty, I have not tried very hard on these platforms. Perhaps the more time you spend on it the better you will do. With Fiverr, the key is to offer different options which will allow you more opportunities to make more than five dollars.

A couple More Ideas (just to help you even more)

1. Editing Books—specifically ebooks—is always in great demand.

There are many, many ebooks out there and I have worked with five editors on different books myself. And the best thing about editing, is actually makes you a better writer. (Yes, I just told my secret about why I love being an editor.) Payment is often 50% up front and 50% on completion. Pricing ranges from .01 per word to .10 per word.

2. Editing blog posts is always in demand.

In many cases, editing (and rewriting) is the difference between a great blog post and a mediocre one. Often this is paid per post or for a number of posts each month. The challenge here is to find blogs that are

3. Help Authors with Book Launches.

This is one of the biggest needs for authors, right up there with coffee. If you are good with organization, social media and project management there is always a need for this. In many ways, the book launch is more difficult than the actual writing of the book itself. There is a lot of work involved: coordinating interviews, writing guest posts, asking for book reviews and engaging your book launch team. Hope marketing does not work. Intentionally connecting with as many people at intentional times does. Volunteer to help another writer with a book launch to get some hands on experience and the next time around you can charge for your services.

How To Find Opportunities

First, you need to have a network in place. You likely have one in place even if you think you don’t; if you are online, you have a network. Reconnect with people you know on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In or any other social network you use. You want to let them know that you are pursuing freelance work, but don’t just send a message and say, “Hey I’m freelancing. Got any leads?” This is kind of a jerk move. If it is your buddy that you spoke with yesterday, then this approach might be fine, but in most situations, you need to reconnect first.

Common courtesy is always a good thing. Ask about their situation and see if you can help before asking for anything. Then, mention what you are up to with freelancing. Yes, this may sound counterintuitive. I know you’re itching to find some work; be patient.

Good things come to those who work really hard and are nice to others.

This is by far the number one way I have found the most freelance work. Applying for jobs is important as well, but a direct connection always beats being one of many emails sitting in an inbox.

Know that rejection is part of this process. You have to intentionally look for work; it is only when you are established will others come to you with work.

For anyone who is interested, I do offer coaching services and can provide help with all of these services listed in this post. This is what I spend the majority of my time doing for my business. I will work with you and give you honest, encouraging feedback so you can bring in some income. Just go here for more info. Wouldn’t it be great to bring in hundreds–even thousands per month with your writing?

Now repeat after me: You can do this.

I KNOW you can.

Need more support and encouragement?

I’m leading a mastermind in July called the 90-Day Writers Mastermind to help you absolutely transform your writing.


Do you know any other ways to kickstart your writing career this summer? Share them in the comments!