Write Now! Persuasive Writing Prompts:
Jumpstart Your Headline Writing

Practice your copywriting skills with this prompt from The Professional Writers’ Alliance (PWA).

In this Write Now! exercise, try your hand at writing compelling headlines.

In this video by copywriter, Elizabeth Blessing, you’ll focus on a simple technique to stimulate your headline writing. (Or read the transcript below.)

Play Video

First, start off with a headline that you like and have reason to believe is a proven winner. Write that headline at the top of your page.

Next, set a timer for five minutes and for that entire five minutes write as many headlines as you can that mimic the style, tone and structure of your proven winner.

Now don't over think this and don't censor yourself! The point is to unleash a stream-of-consciousness flow of writing, getting as many headlines on paper as possible.

For example, I selected Boardroom's classic headline, "What Never to Eat on an Airplane." Here's what I came up with in five minutes:

  • What Never to Eat in a Fast Food Restaurant
  • What Never to Drink Before Bedtime
  • What Four Words You Should Never Say to Your Boss
  • What Never to Say On a First Date
  • What Five Secrets You Should Never Tell Your Spouse
  • What Three Things You Should Never Tell the IRS
  • What Three Things You Should Always Tell the IRS
  • What Three Things You Should Say to Calm an Angry Child
  • What Person You Should Never Trust With Your Email Address
  • Why Your Next Door Neighbor Just Might be a Cyber Thief

OK, that was a lot of fun, but did you notice what happened here? I went from what never to eat on an airplane to contemplating my neighbor might be a cyber thief, two very different ideas indeed.

Plus, once I understood the pattern of my sample headline, I gained the confidence to deviate from it ever so slightly with each succeeding headline.

So, now you give it a try – Use a proven winner to stimulate and strengthen your own headline writing ability … all in just five minutes!

View Our Full Library of Persuasive Writing Prompts

Write Now! persuasive writing prompts are presented by the Professional Writers’ Alliance (PWA) — a professional association just for direct-response industry writers. Learn about the many benefits of a PWA membership.

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Average: 4.2
Published: May 3, 2017

2 Responses to “Write Now! Persuasive Writing Prompt: Jumpstart Your Headline Writing [video]”

  1. I gave it a try and this is what I came up with 5 min :D

    Do you make these mistakes when trying to build muscle? - original headline Do you make these mistakes when trying to work from home?
    Do you suffer from a “blank page” syndrome?
    Do you make these mistakes when investing?
    Do you make any of these money saving mistakes?
    Do you lose your “work zone” mood when the nasty afternoon crash shows up?

    This exercise seems to be a great way to test/adapt some proven headlines (usually I just review my headline collection to see can I reuse something from there)

    Guest (Kendrick )

  2. After going through all the headlines (I'm busy and told myself I will just read a few...but I had to do them all!!!)
    See what you did now like Monk (remember him) now I find myself trying to better any headline I see...that's your objective wasn't it?
    Now I'm better for it Cheers!!!


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