The Salt and Pepper Method for Writing Headlines
The easiest way to write ClickBait headlines is with the Salt and Pepper method.
All you do is follow these steps.
1.Begin with the salt
To start with, you need to identify the benefit your market is most interested in. What appeals to them the most and what is guaranteed to grab their attention?
I like to refer to this benefit as the “salt.”
This salt forms the central core of your headline.
You can think of this as a keyword.
It can also be described as a topic which your audience is interested in.
Basically, the salt is what hooks and grabs the reader’s attention.
What you have to realize is that, when people use the internet, they are often looking for something (usually information or products.) They could be looking for information on how to lose weight, get out of debt, or save their marriage.
As they scroll through webpages, they’re not actually looking at, or reading the headline. Their eyes will first focus on the information they are looking for.
For example, let’s say a pregnant women wants to start yoga. She’s online and looking for this topic. In this case the salt or keywords would be – “pregnant” and “yoga.”
So you headline could be something like:
“8 great yoga moves for pregnant women.”
“Is yoga safe for pregnant women?”
“Pregnant women will love these gentle yoga moves.”
Maybe the person is a student looking for a way to go on holiday without spending money.
In this case your keywords could be: “cheap”, “discount”, “free” and “student.”
In this example you might write a headline like:
“FREE holidays for students”
“How students can travel overseas without spending money.”
“Discount holiday packages for students.”
2. Next add the pepper
The pepper is everything else which surrounds the salt. These are words which add flavor to the headline. The purpose of the pepper is to generate curiosity and get them interested in reading the headline. What you have to understand is that it’s not always enough to present someone with a benefit or topic they are interested in. That isn’t always enough – you also have to make them curious enough to read the headline.
The pepper is also made up of two parts. These are “power words” and “headline templates.” Power words are basically words or phrases which stand out, grab attention, and create curiosity. These words also make your headlines more “colorful.” For example you could use words like:
You could use these words in the following ways:
“Rip off companies exposed”
“Insider secrets for making more money”
“Alarming health news for seniors”
“The secret trick to saving on your home insurance”
“Triple your money overnight with this stock market secret”
“Overcome anything with these mental toughness hacks”
“Weird trick helps men lose weight”
“The strange exercise that makes your biceps bigger with no extra effort”
“This groundbreaking diet makes it possible to lose weight faster than ever before”
Power words can also include small phrases which generate curiosity.
This can be things like
“could kill you”
“before it’s too late”
You could use these examples in the following ways:
“What you don’t know about rock climbing could kill you”
“Why you need to start saving for your retirement before it’s too late”
“10 reasons why your marriage isn’t working”
Next, you have headline templates. These are common templates for writing headlines. They often use the technique of asking what, where, when, how, why. Numbered lists are also popular. In fact, you’ve probably seen this already. The internet is filled with list headlines. These are things like.
“5 ways to save on car insurance.”
“10 things you must do to lose weight now.”
“7 ways to ask for a raise”
Then you have headlines like:
“What you need to know about beating inflation in 2022”
“Why you still need to watch out for COVID-19”
“Where to find the best deals on laptops”
“When is it the right time to ask for a raise?
You’ve probably also seen “how to” headlines all over the web:
“How to know if you’re saving enough for retirement”
“How to get the cheapest holiday possible”
“How to get rid of cockroaches (and make sure they never come back)
Practice and learn
By using the salt and pepper method it’s possible to write headlines quickly.
All you do is find a benefit or topic that your audience is interested in and which grabs their attention. You then surround this key phrase with weird, colorful, or strange words, along with curiosity generating phrases, and headline templates.
The best thing you can do now is practice. Practice the method until you understand it fully. You should write at least 10 headlines a day as practice. Writing 100 is even better. Do this until you’ve written 1000’s of headlines as practice, and you feel that you’ve mastered the method.
It’s also important that you start building a swipe file.
This is basically a collection of headlines which you can learn from. You should spend at least half an hour a day browsing the web and looking for great headlines. Whenever you see one, copy it down into your swipe file. The best places to find these are news and magazine websites. You can also look at the websites for tabloid newspapers (nypost.com and dailymail.co.uk have great headlines – visit these sites every day and study their headlines.)
Make a point of reading through your swipe file as often as possible. You want to study what works and learn from it.