3 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Headlines and a Swipe File


Your headlines are the very first thing a person sees (duh I know…. but hear me out) and what you convey in these first words is what the old brain or the reptilian brain (AKA the real decision maker) uses to make a decision to proceed or hit back-button.

The old brain is quick to judge and label; it can immediately recognize and categorize a potential threat or benefit. No matter how solid and logical your message is message is, it will not trigger a decision unless the old brain says so.

So how does the old brain assess these few words? With these basic questions:

Is this a danger that I need to know more about?

Will this solve a burning problem?

Will this make my life easier in anyway?

Does this make me look cool?

If your headlines do not provoke any of these questions, you don’t stand a chance at hooking the reader!


So how do you create that Hook?


Rule One:

Your headline should address at least one of the six basic human desires:

1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure

2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli

3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed

4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something

5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding

6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others


Rule Two:

Your headline would make people excited not dull them down. A headline that makes them sad, deflated or creates emotions of defeat would never get clicked or shared (but anger is good, make them angry if you want!). Remember no one wants to be a damper!

Your headline should invoke excitement, curiosity and an urge to click and share.


Rule Three:

If your headline creates a curiosity gap (which it should!) you should never ever ever…like EVER give it all way in your headline or your image or excerpt or even the share text. If you do, you will take away the impetus to click that link.

In short this is what you are trying to achieve with your headline:

 “THIS I gotta read! This is uber important information! I need to click this link and read what she has to say!”


Keep these three rules in mind for all your headlines and you are on your way to headlines that get clicked, read, shared and talked about.


And now the icing on the cake:


Your very own Swipe File for One full year worth of Ideas and  Fill-in-the-Blank Headlines (Click to download)


If you enjoyed this post, spread the love…..leave a comment, tweet about it or tell someone who can use this information!


3 Rules for Writing Persuasive Headlines (Plus a swipe file!)3 Rules for Writing Persuasive Headlines (Plus a swipe file!)


  1. Nelda McEwen on June 5, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Hi Girls! Thank you so much for this gift. It overflows with good advice. I am practical and want/need serious tools. Your optins are all that. I am looking forward to what filters through in my email. Thanks again

    • bushra.a on June 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Thank YOU Nelda for your kind words.

  2. Lisa on September 8, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    That was so neat, thank you very much Bushra! Just went through organising topics and ideas, it is as if you read my mind 🙂

    • bushra.a on September 14, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Thanks so much Lisa for your lovely words…I wish I could read minds…would come in handy with the kidos 😉

  3. Keisha on September 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Love your wit. Thanks once again ;-}

    • bushra.a on September 14, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      It is absolutely lovely of you to stop by Keisha.

      Thanks so much!

  4. […] And if you want to learn how to write great ad copy, you have to read this article and follow this girl (seriously): 3 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Headlines and a Swipe File […]

  5. Karen Hornsby on May 21, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks! This was super helpful!!

  6. Sandra Gonzalez on May 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Bushra! You provide a wealth of information in a unique way. I cannot wait to meet you. Thank you for your attention to detail, generosity, and prompt assistance.

    • bushra.a on May 24, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Ahhh Sandra…thank you so much for your lovely words!

  7. cori on July 30, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I can’t tell you how excited/elated/grateful I am that I found you!! There are very few people that can entice me enough to open an email and even fewer that have me laughing out loud while reading their sales page, while frantically searching for the “buy now” button. After reading your emails and watching your email boot camp series, I am SO freaking excited that I (quickly) bought a license 🙂 Thank you a million times over and I look forward to learning more from you!

  8. Debra on August 11, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Thank you Bushra.
    I am reading through all your great ideas, taking notes and preparing to implement as soon as I’ve gotten through all the advice. I’m very grateful and will let you know how I go. Debra

  9. Sabra on April 20, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Bushra,
    I love all of the words and the structure you provide for them but I don’t understand the term “swipe file”. Did I miss a definition or is it something that is common knowlege?

    • Susan Lewis on September 16, 2017 at 8:11 am

      Swipe file I believe is a previously written file (say an add) where there are spaces to fill in relevant words. That way the things written about are your own. Here is an example

      But all I needed was __________: however, what I _____________.

      But all I needed was to be trained: however, what I purchased became a way of life.

  10. Lisa on April 20, 2016 at 10:08 pm


    YOU ARE HILARIOUS and a breath of fresh air. I love your tips and am so glad I stumbled upon you. Can’t wait to implement this information and to keep learning more

  11. Marie Piazza on March 11, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Bushra, I think i could live on your pages forever, website or 60 sec FB page! Wow it must be divine intervention brought me back here. Just finishing up my webiste and ready to have my website launch party webinar next week and these are the party favours I needed to really make it happen to juice it up some and get some dance moves in. thank you. Giving it a go. Definitely for my first page connection to persuade and love. i know i signed up for the website video but don’t seem to have got it or it got lost somewhere in the persuasion internet planet.

  12. Debra Galloway on June 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you so much!

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(Not your children; this isn't magic!)