The 3 elements of a magnetic headline
"They laughed when I sat down at the piano but when I started to play!
Welcome to the 33rd issue of Write On!
The newsletter that avoids touching the NYC subway poles at all costs.
Estimated read time: 2 minutes 18 seconds
How do you start a story?
I sit down to write this newsletter every week and am faced with the same daunting challenge:
“How the f@$% do I start this thing?”
You guys get to see the polished version every Wednesday morning.
But this is me pretty much every Tuesday night:
The one thing that gets me back on track every time is a great story prompt.
I let the prompts guide my thinking to a story that feels relevant in that moment.
Where do I find these prompts? I’ve built up a library of 365+ story prompts that I refer back to often. Here’s a glimpse:
I used #19 as the inspiration for this section of today’s newsletter. On Monday, I conducted another feedback interview with a beta student of my course. He explained how much he loved the story prompt library. That made my day. So I thought you guys might find it interesting too.
You’ll get access to this story prompt library and much more in my course that launches later this month (can’t believe it’s almost here).
455+ Write On readers are on the waitlist to become a better storyteller so they can sell more online. Consider joining them because you’ll get:
Early access to the course launch
Sneak peeks into the course
Just click the button below 👇
The 3 elements of a magnetic headline:
One of the most iconic headlines in advertising history.
Here are the 3 elements that made it incredibly effective:
1. Emotional Story Arc:
The headline takes readers on a brief but compelling emotional journey.
It starts with doubt or mockery ("They laughed").
Then hints at a triumphant turnaround ("but when I started to play").
Leaving the reader curious and eager to find out what happened next.
At some point, everyone has felt the sting of doubt or mockery from others.
The headline resonates with readers by beginning with this universal feeling.
It taps into the common human desire to prove doubters wrong and to transform skeptics into admirers.
3. Suspense and Incompleteness:
The headline doesn't finish the story; it opens the loop.
Our natural human curiosity wants to fill in the gaps and get closure.
What did he play?
Did he amaze the audience?
What was the reaction afterward?
Some real examples:
Let’s put these ideas into practice now. I’ll list the topic of what we’re selling and an example for each:
Topic: Getting better at golf
Headline: "They doubted my swing on the first tee, but their jaws dropped by the 18th hole."
Topic: Learning how to cook
Headline: "They raised an eyebrow when I entered the kitchen, but their plates were empty within minutes."
Topic: How to sell with email marketing
Headline: "They questioned my old-school approach with email, but then they saw the sales roll in."
Top Finds This Week:
📖 Storytelling: The powerful storytelling trick NO ONE is talking about: (link)
💾 Swipe-worthy: The 9 most creative ads of all-time (link)
✍️ Write On: How to market a product nobody wants: (link)
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.
See you next Wednesday!
P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here’re three ways I can help you:
Facts tell. Stories Sell. Use storytelling in your copywriting to grow your business. Get early access to my new course: The Storywriting Playbook (👉Add me to the waitlist!)
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