Affiliate Marketers: How to Write Headlines That Make Money NOW in 5 Easy Steps

Learning how to write headlines that get clicked will make you more money online. And that’s what this post is all about. It’s critical when you consider that almost 60 percent of people will read only the headline. 

A post on Forbes highlighted just how critical a good headline is, writing:

In a read article, headlines are one of the most powerful contributors to performance, and in a non-read article, it’s the only contributor to performance. As a result, headlines have become almost like articles in and of themselves.

Before we go any further, take a minute to think about just how powerful that is.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

What Running Taught Me about How to Write Headlines

I’ve been a runner since I was 18, but until I ran my first marathon (at 40), I’d never covered 26.2 miles at one time.

 How to Write Headlines that Get ClickedThe most miles I’d ever run in one stint was 18 – and I’d only gone that distance one time. Most of my runs were in the 3 to 7 or 8-mile range.

Every once in awhile, I’d throw in a 10 or 12 miler, but I was most comfortable in the 4-6 mile range.

Even though I had years of running under my belt before I completed my first marathon, it was still daunting. I thought, “How am I ever going to run 26.2 miles?

So I hit the web, found a training schedule and followed it religiously for 11 months.

My goal was to finish the marathon within 5 hours, because that was the cutoff point for getting a medal – and I wanted that medal more than anything!

That training paid off. I completed my first marathon, running the entire 26.2 miles without stopping once.

My time: 4 hours, 36 minutes and 19 seconds.

Right about now you may be thinking, “Yuwanda, what the heck does this have to do with writing headlines?

The point is, for many affiliate marketers and bloggers, copywriting is not a skill that comes naturally. Many struggle with it, wondering how or if they will ever learn to do it effectively. I had the same fear to overcome as a runner.

How will I ever finish? How can I possibly run that far?” I thought to myself. It seemed like an impossible goal – until I found a “formula” that worked, ie, a marathon training schedule.

How to Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines Every Time

Here I’m going to give you a headline-writing formula that will help you create attention-grabbing headlines – headlines that suck the reader in and gets them to click. Without clicks, no one will learn about your fabulous products and services. And that’s why you need to learn how to get good at it.

You don’t have to become a copywriting rockstar, but getting proficient at writing headlines will definitely help you earn more. Proof? consider the following …

Earn More without Working More: Let’s Run Some Numbers

What if you could sell more of your product/service – without doing any more work? Let’s run some numbers to see what that could mean for your bottom line.

Let’s say you have an e-book that you sell for $30. For ease of calculation, let’s say you sell 50 copies per month; 1 or 2 copies every other day or so. Not bad. You’re grossing $1,500 per month.

But you want to quit your job. If you could just sell 100 copies per month (double your sales), you’d earn $3,000 – grossing $100 per day.

Hot damn, you’re on a roll now! “This is job-quitting money!” you think.

Making $100/Day Online

FYI, earning $100 per day is kind of an earnings benchmark many new to online marketing strive to reach. Why? Because it makes them feel confident that they can make a full-time living online.

Also, once you know how to earn $100 per day, it becomes easier to scale your online business to the point where it earns $200 per day, then $500 per day, then — holy cow! — four figures ($1,000 per day).

It’s like something kicks in internally when you reach the $100 per day earnings mark consistently. You quit telling yourself what you can’t do and start thinking about how much more is possible — because you see it in your earnings.

Your confidence builds. And once you have confidence in your abilities, the sky is literally the limit. Now wouldn’t this be awesome?

Most of us would settle for “a lousy” $100 per day, but the sad truth is, many affiliate marketers don’t even reach this level of income – which is peanuts compared to gurus like Jeremy Schoemaker of ShoeMoney and John Chow of JohnChow, both of whom earn tens of thousands of dollars per day.

But, we all have to start somewhere – and that’s why I wrote this post.

How to Do Internet/Affiliate Marketing Right … Right from the Start

This post is “going back to basics” information that many online/affiliate marketers never learn. They skip over it and go right to building a blog or throwing up a landing page, or creating an e-product.

Then they wonder why, for example, after two years of slaving away, they’re not making any money. This is why, by the way, good copywriters can command thousands of dollars in fees for writing a landing page or a direct mail piece.

Good writing is a skill – a skill that can exponentially increase your sales. If you take the time to get some basics under your belt, you’d be amazed at what it could mean for your earnings.

Related Posts You Might Find Helpful

How Writing Better Headlines Can Change Your Life – Really!

Imagine earning enough to quit your job? What would that mean for your life? You could:

  • Be there to pick up and drop off your kids to school each day.
  • Sleep later, or go for that early morning run that you don’t have time for now.
  • Get your “weekend shopping” done during the week so you avoid the crush of crowds at the grocery store.
  • Spend more time learning how to make even more money as an online marketer.

While learning how to write effective headlines may seem like a small thing, it really is a skill you should master if you’re serious about making money online.

No matter what your product or service is, eg, an ebook, a video marketing series, a webinar, software, etc., it’s the headline that gets potential buyers to click. Writing better headlines leads to more clicks, which leads to more subscribers, which leads to more customers, which leads to more sales.

To get more site traffic, write better headlines. Click To Tweet

Sell Anything with This Easy Headline-Writing Formula

Now that you hopefully see how important writing effective headlines are, let’s get to a formula that works every time – no matter what you’re promoting online.

Subscribe NOW to get this free bonus material, which will be sent to you immediately. You’ll learn:

  • 5 Super Easy Tips for Writing Effective Headlines; and
  • 21 MORE “Magic” Words that Get Surfers to Click.
  • A special deal on one of Inkwell Editorial’s most popular e-courses is also included (this is an offer you not find anyplace else).

After reading this, you’ll never think of headlines the same again. You’re going to want to keep this info close to refer to every time you sit down to write a headline.

How to Write Headlines: A 5-Step Formula That Works Every Time

FYI, you may want to bookmark this post or pin it to Pinterest to refer back to every time you get ready to write a post.

I. Speak to Your Audience

There are three easy ways to do this when it comes to headlines:

  • Call them out/mention them in your headline;
  • Mention a pain point; and/or
  • Mention a benefit that’s specific to their needs.

Let’s discuss each method in detail.

How to Write Traffic-Generating Headlines: Speak to Your Target Audience

Why to Mention Your Target Audience in Your Headline

This is very simple. For example, take the headline (name) of this e-report: Affiliate Marketers: How to Write Headlines That Make Money NOW in 5 Easy Steps. I could have just named it something like:

  • How to Write Effective Headlines,” or
  • How to Write Catchy Headlines,” or
  • How to Write Powerful Headlines.

All of these are very popular search terms, but I’m specifically targeting affiliate marketers. Why? Because I know that copywriting is one of the skills that many of them struggle with. It’s a weak point; a “pain point” of this group, which brings me to the second point.

About Mentioning a Pain Point of Your Target Audience

What Is a Pain Point?

One of the “pain points” that many affiliate marketers have is that they’re not great writers, which makes it hard to communicate their message effectively. FYI, your target audience is likely to have more than one pain point. But, don’t try to cover them all in one written piece – unless you’re writing a “comprehensive” guide.

Here, as we’re talking about headlines, I’m referring to written pieces like blog posts and auto responders. This is copy that web surfers search for to read and/or that you send to your subscribers to open. So when writing your headlines, hone in on one pain point that you can “pop like a pimple.” Following is what I mean.

Using pain points in your headlines make them more clickable. Click To Tweet

Using this post as an example again, the pain point I’m focusing in on is the problem that many bloggers and affiliate marketers have — writing clickable headlines. I’m “popping the pimple” (getting rid of the zit) by giving you a solution to the problem – an easy, 5-step plan you can follow every time you sit down to:

  • Write a blog post;
  • Title an ebook you plan to self-publish;
  • Describe a video you upload to YouTube;
  • Title an infographic you want to distribute; and/or
  • Come up with a subject line for an email you want to send to your subscribers.

How to Effectively Highlight Benefits in Your Headlines

Another way to make your headline more relatable (and clickable) is to mention a benefit … a benefit that speaks to your target audience. Again, let’s revisit the headline (title) of this e-report:

Affiliate Marketers: How to Write Headlines That Make Money NOW in 5 Easy Steps

Some common phrases used in internet marketing are “make money now;” “make money quick;” “make money online fast;” etc. Not only is mentioning “Make Money NOW” a benefit; it speaks to internet marketers in their own lingo.

It’s language they understand and can relate to, which makes it more likely for them to click on this headline among a sea of others that may pop up in a search for “How to Write Effective Headlines,” for example.

Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and be able to craft a headline with all three of the above-mentioned points included. Great! But if you can’t, that’s fine too. Make sure it includes at least one though so that it stands out.

II. Keep Your Headlines Simple

The purpose of a headline is to get people to click so that you can tell them about your great product or service. It is NOT to show off your English degree or how many big words you know. Simple language tends to be the most effective language. In the words of Albert Einstein …

How to Write Headlines That Make Money-Keep It Simple

If you don’t understand it, how can you craft copy about it that your readers will understand? For example, what would you think if you came across the following headline in a search result?

Affiliate Marketers: How to Indite Headlines That Make Money NOW in 5 Easy Steps

“Indite” is another word for write, but who in tarnation would click on that?! First, you’d probably scratch your head and say, “What does that mean?” And second, you’d probably click on the next headline under or above it that was written in plainer language, right? So please, just keep it simple.

Simple is good.

Simple works.

Simple gets clicked on.

Simple headlines can be the most effective headlines. Click To Tweet

III. “SEO” Your Headline

What I mean by this is, do some simple keyword research. Whether you’ve been doing business on the web for years or you’re new to it, I’m sure you’ve run across the acronym, SEO.

What Is SEO & Why It’s Important to Writing Good Headlines

Briefly, SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is a fancy way of saying writing copy with certain rules and regulations in mind to get search engines (eg, Google) to return a page high in search results.

The higher a page shows up in search results, the more of a chance it has to be seen — and clicked on. This is the main reason you need to “SEO your headline.” This means choosing the right keywords to put in the title.

How to Write Great Headlines: The Importance of Keyword Research

What are Keywords?

Keywords and keyword phrases are simply words and phrases a web surfer types in to find stuff on the web. So, for example, if you wanted to find out how to write headlines, a keyword phrase you might type in is “How to write better headlines.”

Note: One word is a keyword; more than one word is a ‘keyword phrase.’ Three or more words are considered ‘long-tail keyword phrases.’ Long-tail keyword phrases tend to get less traffic, but they tend to sell more products and services.


Because when people are close to making a decision about buying something, they tend to get more specific with their searches. For example, let’s say you have some vacation time coming up. You and your significant other have been thinking about visiting the Caribbean because you’ve never been. But, you don’t know where to go.

So you might go to Google and type in the keyword phrase “Caribbean vacations.” Then you start doing some reading. See how many places pop up all over the place with such a generic search term? Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, etc.

How to Write Headlines: Getting Specific

After getting sucked into the results – and who wouldn’t with some of the fabulous photographs! – you finally settle on a place. Let’s say you select the Bahamas. Now that you know where you want to go, you think, “Hmmm, we’re on a limited budget, so we might wanna stay at an all-inclusive resort so we don’t have to worry about coming out of pocket for food and drinks every day.”

So you hit Google again and type in the keyword phrase, ‘all inclusive resorts bahamas’. See how specific that is? Because now, you’re serious about where you’re going and how much you want to spend. If you find the right resort, you’re ready to book!

This is why long-tail keywords are so effective, and why you need to SEO your headline. A keyword or some variation of it should always be used in your headline(s).

Get in the habit of doing it – whether you’re sending out a newsletter that’s going to hit a subscriber’s Inbox, or publishing a post live to the web. At this point you may be thinking, “Ok Yuwanda, you’ve convinced me to SEO my headline. But how do I find keywords?” Glad you asked.

There are a myriad of free and paid SEO tools to help you do this. Perhaps the most popular free one is Google’s Keyword Planner. You need to sign up for a Google account to access it. That’s free too, by the way.

Why This is the Foundation of Making Money Online

FYI, learning how to conduct keyword research is a process in and of itself. I tell everyone who asks me about how to make money online to start with learning search engine optimization (SEO) — especially how to write SEO content.

You need at least a foundational understanding of SEO. Why? Because it teaches you how to market online by giving you an understanding of:

  • How the web works;
  • How search engines find and rank sites;
  • What Google likes and doesn’t like;
  • What drives traffic, what doesn’t; and
  • So much more.

An understanding of search engine optimization affects so much of how you operate on the web that it’s practically impossible to make money online without it, in my opinion.

How Learning SEO Affected My Online Earnings

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you know that I’m a freelance writer. I have four income streams. They are:

How I Promote My Products

Nowadays, my biggest stream of income is from my ebooks and e-courses. How do I promote them? I promote all of them online, using a few online marketing strategies: social media, blogging, and newsletter writing, to name a few.

I’ve been writing and self-publishing ebooks since 2002. In 2010, I looked up and saw – to my surprise – that over half my income came from this source. Before that, I’d make a sale or two a week. Nothing to write home about. But then, an amazing thing happened …

In 2007, I learned SEO. Before then, I had NO IDEA what it was, but as I scoured job ads each morning looking for freelance writing leads, I kept running across ads for “SEO article writers,” “SEO content provider,” and “SEO writer.”

I googled it, learned what it was, and started marketing the service to clients. My freelance writing business took off. Since then, it’s practically the only type of content I’ve written for clients. I also started using this knowledge to market my own line of ebooks. And sales went from a few per month, to a few per week, to now almost daily sales.

And that’s because it was easier for web surfers to find my products and services online. If you google ‘what is seo writing’, eventually, you’re going to run across something written by me on the first few pages of Google – a blog post, an ebook, a social media post – something.

This is because I have a lot of content out there on the subject matter, and because I’m conscious about using SEO guidelines (especially in the title), when I write it. So remember, do your keyword research to find a phrase to stick in your title. Nine times out of 10, a keyword phrase is a natural title because it says exactly what the reader/web surfer is searching for.

IV. Create a Sense of Urgency

The whole point of getting a reader to click is to read your copy and then do something. When you create a sense of urgency in your headline, you are moving them toward that objective from the very beginning.

How to Create a Sense of Urgency In Your Headlines

5 Things Creating a Headline with a Sense of Urgency Does

Headlines that create a sense of urgency persuade a reader to:

  • Click;
  • Read/scan the first few sentences to see if it delivers on its promise;
  • Continue reading if they feel that the promise was indeed delivered on;
  • Build trust as they read more, which …
  • Leads to taking action.

Again, let’s look at the headline of this post:

Affiliate Marketers: How to Write Headlines That Make Money NOW in 5 Easy Steps

For comparison, look at this variation:

Affiliate Marketers: How to Write Headlines That Make Money in 5 Easy Steps

See what a difference that one word “NOW” makes? It lets the reader know, “Hey, you’re going to find something here that you can put to use immediately. Click. Click. Click on me!”

20 Words That Create a Sense of Urgency in Headlines

Following is a list of 20 words that create a sense of urgency. I’ve used a variation of the title of this report in examples to illustrate how these can be incorporated into anything you may be promoting.

ONLY: How to Write Headlines that Convert: The Only Thing You Need to Know

TODAY: Learn How to Write Headlines that Make Money Online TODAY!

HURRY: How to Write Headlines That Convert Quick, Fast and in a Hurry!

DEADLINE: How to Write Headlines That Convert in 5 Easy Steps: Deadline Today

BARGAIN: Learn How to Write Headlines That Convert at a Bargain-Basement Rate

REDUCED: How to Write Headlines that Convert: Reduced Rate on Winning Formula

INSTANT: How to Write Headlines that Convert: An Instant Formula That Works

NOW: Learn How to Write Headlines that Convert – NOW!

FINAL: How to Write Effective Headlines: Final Day to Get This Secret Formula

SECRET: How to Write Headlines that Convert: A Secret Formula that Works

ONE-TIME: How to Write Great Headlines: One-Time Offer You Can’t Afford to Miss

TRIAL: How to Write Traffic-Generating Headlines: Limited Trial Offer

LIMITED: How to Write Headlines that Make Money: Limited Trial Offer

ENDS/ENDING: How to Write Headlines That Convert: Free E-course Offer Ends Today

EXPIRES/EXPIRING: How to Write Headlines That Convert in 5 Quick Steps: Offer Ends Today

NEVER: How to Write Headlines That Explode Your Income: Never Struggle Again

BEFORE: How to Write Headlines That Work: Read This Before You Start to Write

EXTRA: How to Write Headlines that Convert: One Extra Thing You’re Not Doing

UNIQUE: How to Write Headlines that Convert: A Unique Formula That Works

SAVE/SAVINGS: How to Write Effective Headlines: A Headache-Saving Method That Works!

How to Choose Which “Urgency” Word(s) to Use in Your Headline

Which words to use depends on what your product or service is. For example, let’s say you’re selling an online course that shows people how to do keyword research. An effective headline may be:

A Proven Way to Do Keyword Research That Works

‘Proven’ is the sense of urgency word; one that may work well for this offer. Now, consider this: let’s say you’re promoting an e-course that shows new affiliate marketers how to get their first 1,000 newsletter subscribers. An effective headline may be:

Get Your First 1,000 Newsletter Subscribers Now

‘Now’ is the sense of urgency word here; one that may work well for this offer. Why and what’s the difference between these two “urgency-inducing” headlines? The difference is the offer, and both are effective.

Learning how to do keyword research is very technical and can be intimidating. But, if it’s a “proven” method, then it makes it worthwhile.

If you’re new to affiliate marketing and you know that “the money is in the list,” and you only have 17 subscribers, you’d bet your patootie that you want to know how to get from 17 to 1,000 subscribers right this second (NOW)! You’d drop what you’re doing in a hot second to find out how to do it, right?

Again, both headlines have urgency attached to them, but what type of urgency depends on the offer. Keep this in mind as you write your headlines.

2 Common Ways Large Companies Use Urgency

The reason large companies pay thousands of dollars to copywriters like me is that they know that we know how to tap into certain emotions that all of us have. Two very common ways that good copywriters use urgency are via time-based offers and limited inventory/supply offers. Here’s an overview of each, with examples.

Time-Based Urgency Offers

Have you ever walked by a store with a sign that says, “Going Out of Business! Everything Must Go Now!?” This is a form of ‘time-based’ urgency.

The implication is that if you don’t act right now, you’re going to lose out on a great deal. It appeals to the “I don’t want to miss getting something good’ part all of us have. And, having a limited amount of time to take advantage forces us to take action that we may otherwise delay. Here’s an example using a variation of the title of this post.

How to Write Headlines That Convert: Last Chance to Get This Free Info

Obviously, ‘last chance’ is the time-based, urgency-inducing phrase. Now, let’s turn our attention to the other offer in this section.

Limited Inventory Urgency Offers

These are offers that suggest that there is a limited supply and if you don’t act now, there will be no more left. Airlines and hotels use this type of urgency offer brilliantly. What do I mean?

Well, let’s say you want to spend the holidays in Jamaica. You live in New York, so you go to Expedia.com and type in flights from New York’s JFK Airport to Montego Bay. Following is what the search results return.How to Use Limited Inventory in Your Headlines

See how the site tells you the number of seats left on a particular flight, and at what price? This is the limited inventory/supply sense of urgency at work. Any number of factors may cause you to “act now” based on this information, eg:

  • You have to leave on/by a certain date because that’s the day your vacation starts and you want to spend as much time in Jamaica as you can;
  • You’re working with a limited budget and only a certain number of seats left in your price range are left;
  • You’re leaving the kids and this is the only day your parents can come pick them up before you leave;
  • Etc.

Urgency  – whether real or implied – moves people to take action. When used correctly, it can push those off-the-fence prospects right over into the paying customer column.

V. Get Your Headline Length Right

Sixty-five (65) to 70 characters (not words, characters), depending on which source you read, is as long as your headline should be. Why? Because search engines tend to ignore the remainder of the headlines longer than this.

FYI this is why your keyword phrases should be placed near/at the beginning of your headline – to ensure that it gets indexed and shows up in search results.

How Many Words Should Your Headline Have?

Industry-accepted wisdom is that you should keep your titles short — eight words or less being ideal. However … it depends on the medium via which you’re distributing the content. As Ripenn, a developer of software for content marketing states, states:

… viral sites don’t always follow this advice. Mainly, because the bulk of their traffic comes from social media channels like Facebook rather than search engines.

The Best Headline Length for Popular Social Media Outlets

Kevin Lee, the Director of marketing at Buffer, the social media publishing tool for brands, agencies, and marketers, wrote a detailed post explaining the ideal length for headlines for just about anything you want to post online. Following is what he found as it relates to content that’s going to be posted to the following four social media sites.

Ideal Headline Length for Social Media

Best Headline Length for Email

In the post by the Buffer marketing director mentioned above, Lee says their study found that an email subject line with around 50 characters fared the best.

Don’t get too bogged down in all these details. The most important thing to keep in mind from this section is to put your keywords near the beginning of your headline. The reason is, you want the entire keyword phrase to get indexed by search engines because it must show up in search results in order to get traffic.

The Power of Knowing How to Write Headlines: An Ad Guru Speaks

As you can see, there’s an art to writing effective headlines. David Olgivy, founder of ad agency giant Olgivy & Mather and considered The Father of Advertising, perhaps put it best when he said:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Are you spending the bulk of your dollar well?

P.S.: Don’t Forget to Grab Your Free Bonus Material.

P.P.S.: Find Thousands of Money-Making Products to Promote.

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