From Meh to Mad Hot: 4 Formulas for Smoking Headlines


Hot MaeBombshell headlines, like attractive content and images, are a blog must. Think of them as a form of seduction: your aim is to get your audience to swoon and sigh in anticipation of the services you can provide them.

The way you do this verbally is “proposition” your audience. In more polite rhetorical contexts this form of address is called an appeal. But I call it just another way to tease and excite. It’s the way you turn your audience on to all those usefully sexy ideas you want to share.

Give ‘Em Lists to Hang Their Hats On

Readers love lists like some people love to keep their hats on…regardless of whatever else they might be doing. As neuroloscientist Walter Kintsch observed almost 50 years ago, humans can process information more easily when it’s broken down into simple, specific, digestible units.


“5 Secrets to Eating Tacos With Style”

“7 Ways to Get a Hungry Elephant out of Your Room”

What’s great about this format is that you can translate each of the numbered points into equally provocative subheads that help keep those eyeballs moving down the body of all that glorious information. You can also introduce your list with a tantalizing lead-in statement set off by a colon.

Please with a How-To

Your readers are looking results that satisfy. So don’t just ask them to come see you sometime. Hit them with headlines that make them feel empowered do something for themselves. After they succeed, they’ll be dying take you up on your offer later on.


“How to Master Speed Eating in 1 Week”

“How to Be Everyone’s Favorite Party Animal in 5 Easy Steps”

“How to Get Hubby to Stop Snoring and Save Your Marriage

Do X, in Y amount of time. Or do X, get Y. Or get Y by doing X. Just plug in the desirables…and va va voom: you’re ready to rock.

Whisper Promises of a “Before” and an “After”

Well-told stories, which almost always involve character change, captivate. Sketch out a transformation in your headline that piques your audience interest. Then sate their curiosity with a narrative that fills them in on all the juicy details.


“How I Went from Wimpy Weakling to Buff Babe-Magnet”

“6 Ways to Transform Geekiness into Dating Gold”

Titillate with a Question

Readers not familiar with or have thought about your topic themselves will immediately be drawn in by a question. Think of this kind headline as a verbal come-hither. Make your audience wonder with a question mark. There’s nothing more alluring than a mystery.


“How Much Is Too Much When It Comes to Changing Your Underwear?”

“Are Your Ingrown Toenails Ruining Your Sex Life?”

“Does Your Dog Really Understand You?”

What you’re doing with your headlines — and your posts — is whetting your audience’s appetite to learn more about you. The smoother and bolder your headlines, the better your chances at finding clients who won’t just want you for your gorgeous content, but for all your business can do for them.


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