The Magic of Double-Whammy Headlines: And How To Use Their Enormous Power

by Sean D'Souza

The Magic of A Double-Whammy Headlines: And How To Use Their Enormous Power

Laurel and Hardy

Batman and Robin

Superman.

Which is the odd one one out?

Yup, it’s the guy who can’t handle Kryptonite, of course. If Superman is in trouble, there’s almost no one to rescue him. But Hardy or Batman can get in trouble all they want, and they have a nice partner to back them up.

The same applies to the double-whammy headline

A double whammy headline is a headline that is really kinda, sorta, a headline with two partners. And like most partnerships, one partner takes on a slightly bigger role. So let’s take some examples:

Why every small business needs sales analysis: And how to complete it in 20 minutes

Why quarterly analysis can increase business by 50%: The three key steps

The Rumiddha Method: 4 steps to achieve a profitable forum online

The Keyboard Wheel (And how it helps you decide the right colour for your website)

Why small businesses don’t grow—And how to use autoresponders to increase business by 27% every year

The first part in some of these headlines could almost stand alone.

Why every small business needs sales analysis

Why quarterly analysis can increase business by 50%

The Rumiddha Method

The Keyboard Wheel

Why small businesses don’t grow

And yes, some of them are really complete by themselves

Technically, that’s the goal. To write one part so well, that the first part is already a complete headline.

Yes, all by itself.

It could steal the show without having the add-on.

But what if the first part is not that complete?

In the examples above, the “Rummidha Method” and “Keyboard Wheel” tell you nothing. But they pull you in. Their job is not to be complete. It’s to sucker you in while the second half of the headline knocks you out!

And that’s how the double-whammy headline works

It uses double the power to get your attention. And once it’s gotten your attention, you can’t help but want to click to read the rest of the article. And of course, you can use colons, question marks, brackets or the em dash—or a whole lot of punctuation marks to create these double-whammy headlines.

But should you use double-whammy headlines all the time?

Should you take your umbrella out all the time? Of course, not. You can write a headline like this:

e.g. Why the most attractive headline may not result in the greatest conversion

And that headline, despite not being double-whammy, works perfectly well. But from time to time you want to mix up your headlines with a bit of power as well. And that’s when double-whammy headlines are perfect.

But they can also be too, um, overdone

You can try so hard to stuff your headline with terms that it may be impossible to work out what you’re saying. So yes, double-whammy headlines can be too whammy, and end up being clammy.

e.g. Why focusing on advanced placement that guarantees career failure (and how to avoid that fate while still getting great grades)

You may scrunch your eyebrows in confusion, but it’s common to see writers getting just as eager and overdoing the double-whammy headline so that it becomes kinda hard to understand. Keeping the headline simple, is critical to getting the idea across effectively.

Ok, time to summarize:

Want to see the examples with punctuation marks, again? Well, here you go…

Why every small business needs sales analysis: And how to complete it in 20 minutes

Why quarterly analysis can increase business by 50%: The three key steps

The Rumiddha Method: 4 steps to achieve a profitable forum online

The Keyboard Wheel (And how it helps you decide the right colour for your website)

Why small businesses don’t grow—And how to use autoresponders to increase business by 27% every year

Use double-whammy headlines often when getting the attention of your audience

Because duos work well.
Like TweedleDee and Tweedledum!

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert Wright December 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hi Sean,

Just writing to let you know I appreciate the excellent work you do.

I look forward to having some time over Christmas to go over your site and figure out whether there is any way we can collaborate.

Warm wishes
Robert

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