Are You A SUMO Headline Champion?

If you’re a copywriter, entrepreneur, small business owner or creativity expert you’ll know how important marketing is to get your message out there.

And you’re always told that 80 per cent of your success is down to the headline.

If that’s the case…

How long do you spend writing your headlines?

Ten minutes?  Maybe 5 minutes? Less?

From experience, it’s EXTREMELY RARE, that the first headline you write will be the best one.

Extremely rare.

We’ll give you a headline success test in a moment.

But first a couple of tips (and a real life example)…

So, my first tip is to spend MORE time working on your headlines.

And that leads me to the second tip.

Write LOTS Of Headlines…

Create a whole bunch of them for each article, web page, landing page or direct sales letter you write.

The process of coming up with many different ideas is not merely “creative”. It is powerfully productive. It’s the best strategy for coming up with a winner.

Tip 3 is to write your headline ideas then take a break and come back to it with a fresh mind and eyes. It’ll improve your headline writing EVERY time.

A simple illustration of that…

I was writing a squeeze page for a client and the offer was connected to achieving weight loss after pregnancy. My first headline used the word “regain” (your pre-baby shape) but that wasn’t right (in the context of the work the client was doing it wasn’t even 100 per cent accurate).

So, if I’d just left it there it would not have worked. It could also have been misleading.

I then came up with “renew” (to soften the bold offer a touch) but this felt more like something you’d see connected with car insurance.

I left the headline writing for an hour and 15 minutes. Then came back to it.

The word that emerged was “rediscover”.

The client loved it.

The word gives the sense of regaining pre-baby weight but does not suggest that this is a “guaranteed” result (which is not right). It also hints at renewing oneself with the original body shape.

And “rediscover” contains a sense beyond just the physical. It suggests “finding the old self” as well but leaves that open to the reader’s personal interpretation.

Headlines are important so do take time and care over them for the BEST results.

Now, as promised…

It’s Time To Put You To The Test

And thanks to the guys at AppSumo ( for giving me permission to share the challenge which they set their readers.

The copywriters at AppSumo spend a LOT of time and effort on writing their headlines.

The results not only look great on the page – they’re successful at getting people to take action (and ultimately to make a purchase).

They were interested to see how well their readers could do at identifying which headlines perform best (which is the ONLY criteria a business is interested in when it comes to marketing).

This is the exact same challenge they set.

You’re about to be put to the test. (Don’t worry, it’s a bit of fun but the exercise does carry a serious message about the importance of spending time and effort when writing headlines.

Ready? Let’s start.

This is the warm-up question…

Which of the 2 headlines below won?

1. What I learned spending $2 million on Facebook Ads

2. How to spend your first $100 in Facebook Ads

Made your choice?

The answer is about to be revealed.

It’s Ad number 1.

What this demonstrates is that instead of showing people “how-to” do something it can be much more powerful to tell them your personal journey of how you reached a particular goal.

The formula for this type of headline is:

What I learned after doing [$x] on [y activity]

Try it for yourself and see what difference it makes to your headlines.

Okay, now for the REAL test…

There are FIVE challenges below.

In each, case, you have a guess.

Which headline won?

Headline Challenge 1 – Blog Growth:

  • A. How I used this blog to replace my day job
  • B. How I grew this blog from $100/m to a full-time income
  • C. How to make money with a blog

Headline Challenge 2 – Adobe Creative Cloud Announcement

  • A: The Updated Creative Cloud Video Apps Are Finally Here – Download Them Today!
  • B: Adobe Releases Creative Cloud 2014 – Download The Updated Apps Today!

Headline Challenge 3 – World Cup

  • A: 3 Ways to Use The World Cup for your Brand
  • B: How to use Dr. Dre and Neymar to promote your products
  • C: 3 Ways for your brand to survive the World Cup hiatus

Headline Challenge 4 – Introverts

  • A: How Do You Begin Building a Partnership with an Introvert?
  • B: How To Assist An Introvert
  • C: How do you build a relationship with a reserved boss?
  • D. 5 Quick Tips For Assistants to an Introvert

Headline Challenge 5 – KingSumo

  • A: Are you neglecting the most important part of your blog?
  • B: KingSumo Headlines
  • C: Are your headlines driving away your readers?
  • D: This title is optimised for traffic, is yours?
  • E:┬áHeadlines are the most important part of your website
  • F: Get 20 per cent more traffic per article without extra work

Okay, that’s it.

The test is over?

Got your 5 answers?

To find out how you scored just click on the word “contact” and send me a message with the heading “Sumo Headline” and your answers (e.g. 1. A, 2. B, 3. C, 4. D, 5. E).

I’ll send you the answers and your score (usually within 24 hours).

Oh, and by the way, I value your privacy so rest assured that I’ll ONLY use the email address you send me to provide the answers and your score.

You WON’T be added to any mailing list and you won’t receive any follow-up emails. That’s my personal promise. I hate unwanted mail as much as you do.

Hope you enjoyed taking the challenge and I’m really curious as to how well you did.

Remember, headlines impact on your results. Spend a bit more time and care with them next time you’re writing one.

To your headline success


P.S. Obviously if you did want to receive some regular advice and information about copywriting, marketing and doing things a bit differently then you’re very welcome to sign up for my newsletter. You can do that on this page now if you wish.

P.P.S. Remember, to get your Sumo Headline Champion Challenge score just use the contact form and send me your five answers. I’ll return your score.

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