Human nature is forever curious. There is always a quest to discover the “whys” of the our existence. Advertisers have taken advantage of this trait by using their headlines to arouse the curiosity of the reader.
But writing curiosity headlines is a little tricky.
What is a curiosity headline?
A curiosity headline catches the attention of your reader by making a claim that on the surface, seems unusual or highly remarkable in some way. It may even seem to make a nearly impossible claim or it could target a deep-seated concern of the reader by prodding a familiar emotion. Here’s an example:
Are You Playing Fair With Your Wife?
There are several layers of curiosity with this one.
First, it arouses the curiosity of a husband who has the familiar emotion of loving and respecting his wife because he instantly questions himself and his relationship with her by considering that headline.
Second, it arouses his curiosity because he says to himself, I’m a fair man. How could I not be playing fair, especially with my wife?
Finally, it arouses curiosity by challenging the man that he might be playing fair with everyone else, but perhaps not his wife.
Here is another:
How A Fool Stunt Made Me A Star Salesman
The headline could have read How I Did A Fool Stunt and it would not have been nearly as powerful. Or it could have read How I Became A Star Salesman, which may have received some attention, but not as much as with the original headline above.
The reason the original is so powerful is because it brought together the self-interest headline with the curiosity headline.
This is one of the most powerful types of headlines you can write.
The original headline sold a large number of correspondence courses for salesmanship. You can see immediately that the reader would say, “What is this ‘fool stunt,’ anyway? How can something so frivolous produce a top salesperson?”
The curiosity part of the headline doesn’t give anything away. The reader must read further to find out how a fool stunt made this person into a star salesman.
How to write a curiosity headline
First, realize that because a curiosity headline alone is rather tricky to write, it’s a good idea to combine it with the self-interest headline.
Second, do not satisfy the reader’s curiosity with the headline or even in the first paragraph. You need to tease out the reader’s curiosity in stages.
You actually read curiosity headlines everyday. For instance, how many times have you landed on a website and read the words, Get Your Free eBook. That is a curiosity headline.
This is a technique used for downloading a free eBook, white paper, or other product. The copy will usually arouse curiosity by stating what the reader can learn with this product, such as “Learn why you never want to eat this before flying!”
The copy will not say what it is the reader shouldn’t eat. It’s just a promise that if you download the free eBook, you’ll learn what it is.
Here are a few more examples:
Is The Honeymoon Over?
ABC Company Proudly Introduces Something Shockingly Amazing….
The Tallest Recycling Story Ever Told
Why You Don’t Want To Drink The Pool Water
Curiosity headlines can attract your reader when you have a message that resonates with her desires. When combined with the self-interest headline, it can be one of the most compelling headlines around.
Start to examine the headlines you come across each day to notice which ones pull you in. Ask yourself why you were compelled to read the headline and the copy. Then use a similar approach with your own headline. Just make sure that either in the copy itself or the product advertised, that curiosity is satisfied.
The Headline Deep Dive Series: