In this course, I tackle writing headlines for online media
Why the focus on headlines?
Because writing a better headline is the fastest way to achieve a massive improvement in the performance of every content page, email and social media update your write.
The headline is the first thing people read.
And most people don’t read any further.
This means the headline is the first and principal point of failure for pretty much all web content.
By extension, it’s also the greatest point of opportunity.
Write a better headline, and you hold onto and engage more readers and prospects.
Master the headline, and you master the page.
“The author has a very engaging style of teaching. His lectures are detailed and thoroughly explained. The information provided here is very useful. Thanks for sharing the craft with us. This course has been a wonderful experience.” Sladjana Stamenkovic
“Nick is a master educator — love his understated style, dry humour, and his frank approach to saying what’s on his mind. He deals in real substance.” Jim Mahannah
This course comprises 23 lectures. Go through them all, do the homework provided, and you’ll learn:
"This course has been a tremendous help to me. I didn't realise that there was so much to writing headlines. Having been aware of an uneasy apprehension about headline composition I found this alleviated very early on as I took in the information. Nick’s delivery is exceptional with an easy to listen to voice and helpful tone. His knowledge and experience comes through at the outset creating a reassuring environment from which to learn and process the material. Every step of the way was clear and I loved the practice sessions which were on offer." Mariah Haylen
This is about my background as a professional writer and copywriter. This is what I bring to the table as a headline writer, content writer and content marketer.
Now let's look at why headlines are so important, and how writing better headlines for web content makes you a better content writer and content marketer.
When writing for the web, there are plenty of places you expect to be writing headlines... like for blog posts, evergreen content pages and website homepages. In all of these places, writing better headlines can make a huge difference.
In addition to the obvious places, there are plenty of other places online where if you're not writing a traditional headline, you are using a headline writer's mindset. This applies to writing email subject lines and lines of short-form content across social media platforms.
Before you start to write a headline, you have to first figure out who you're talking to. If you don't do that, it's like going on a first date while wearing a blindfold. If you don't know who you're talking to, how do you know what to say?
In the last lecture we talked about defining our audience. In this one we take the next step, which is to achieve clarity in knowing what it is we are trying to achieve. What is the purpose of the content we are creating?
One of the keys to writing better headlines for web content is to rehearse before you write. In other words, immerse yourself in the topic, and then write out a whole slew of headline ideas, before you find the best headline approach.
It's important to bring the key words and phrases to the first half of your headline. Both your readers and the search engines will pay more attention to the first half of any online headline.
Here's something you can learn from news headlines... Never tell the whole story in the headline. Always leave your readers wanting to know more. In this lecturer we'll also look at how you can work with headline design to make your headline stand out.
For this lecture I'm giving you an updated list of additional reading and resources on how to write better headlines, in the form of posts and video posts.
Over the course of a copywriting and consulting career spanning over thirty years, offline and then online, Nick has worked with dozens of major companies, including:
Citibank, Apple, Chrysler, Franklin Mint, TV Guide, Diners Club International, J. Paul Getty Trust, MSN.com, Technogym, Encyclopedia Britannica, New York Times, Country Financial, Adorama, Reuters, WebEx, and others.
During his years as a direct response marketer he wrote direct mail by the ton, and earned 15 awards, both in Europe and North America. In 1997 he stopped writing direct mail and has been working exclusively on business online ever since.
Over the years he has also worked as an advisor and consultant to various start-ups, principally in the area of consumer product sales online.
He has spoken at numerous online marketing conferences and has conducted in-house seminars and training sessions for many companies, including:
Yahoo!, Intuit, Walt Disney Attractions, Association of American Publishers, Novartis Pharma, John Deere, National Cancer Institute, Merck & Co., Textron, and the Information Technology Media Advisory Council.
Online, he has written literally hundreds of articles for Clickz.com, MarketingProfs.com, iMediaConnection.com, Business 2.0 and other online publications. He is also the author of Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy. Published in 2001, it’s still a good and valuable read today.
"In a world of instant pundits and stuffed shirts, Nick Usborne stands out as an astute, insightful and original mind. He's able to find substance when others see just fluff, and can cut right to the core of the issue." Seth Godin
"The best writers are also clear thinkers who can distill complex issues and processes into something entirely more manageable. Nick does this well as a writer, certainly. But his talents apply more broadly to business as well. He has a real talent for seeing through the clutter, and recognizing what works and what doesn’t work when marketing online." Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
"Nick Usborne is one of our most popular speakers at Search Engine Strategies, and I consistently get positive feedback about his presentations." Danny Sullivan, SearchEngineLand
Today he divides his time between online copywriting, teaching, consulting – and enjoying life.
He lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.