Professional Headlines with Componential Analysis

17 February 2023
Reading: 5 min

Originally, the componential analysis is a technique from linguistics to find the correlations between the words. For instance, the words “boy” and “man” have some common features: male, human. This technique helps to group the words and find the linguistic correlations. The same logic can be applied to the headlines to increase one’s open rate.

When it comes to an informative headline, there is an object (“Componential Analysis”) and some sort of action (“Headline with”). On the other hand, the emotional headlines may lack explicitly stated object and action: “International Women’s Day Is on the Way! D’Ye Know What I Mean?”. Nonetheless, it is important to understand what you are conveying and how.

Headline formula

People are highly pragmatic and look for a solution to their problems. The basic idea behind a catchy headline is to highlight some sort of result, with the aid of compelling words. The result and the words can be not only positive but negative too. Here is a basic formula for a catchy headline:

Result [+/-]+Power Word [+/-]= Killer Headline

  • Overcome [+PW] Occupational Burnout [Res] with Our Special Pills
  • Never Alone [-Res] Again [PW] with This Male Enhancer
  • If You Ace [+PW] 5 Secret Tips [+Res] from Our New Book, You’ll Manage Your Time [+Res] Like Big Shots [+PW] Do
  • Quit [PW] Thinking Over [Res] and Accomplish [+PW] Your Goals [+Res] with 10 Simple Tips

The weak points of humans are numerous: laziness, envy, depression, anger, fear, hurt pride. But if you are capable of aligning the product you are promoting with the prospect of remedying a pain point — you are halfway there. The second half is to communicate the idea with some impactful words. It’s a great idea to come up with the results and power words in advance, because it saves time. Try out this exercise when you have free time and are not under pressure — the results might surprise you.

Deeper analysis of headlines

All the mass of headlines can be dissected into even more elementary parts. Some of the most obvious ones (and comparatively converting) are:

  • How to (guide to, learn to, 10 recommendations etc.)
  • Trigger word (a.k.a. Power word)
  • Personalization (John Doe, you have subscribed earlier, ready to learn programming?)
  • Generalization (If not running the travelling offers, then what to do in summer?)

The components can be deduced from the database of headlines. Chances are, you have some top-performing campaigns in your affiliate history. Aggregate them and their headlines: what features do they have in common? Make also a note that the emojis are not a component, because they bring no new meaning. But they do affect the clickability, therefore the headlines with and without emojis should be assessed separately.

Assume that your features match perfectly the quad above. Now, by mixing all the ingredients and trying out various combinations, you can figure out the most impactful of them via split testing:

You’ve Read a Free Book, Time for More Revelations with Our Ultimate Package!

  • Guidance (Time for)
  • Triggering (Revelations, Ultimate)
  • Personalization (You’ve)
  • Generalization
  • Emojis

One thing you should be aware, though, is that the length works against you in most cases. Therefore, hitting all 4 bullet points mentioned earlier, while oversizing the headline, is a bad idea. You need a large database of headlines to make an adequate comparison and discover solid patterns, the larger — the better. Of course, you can cluster the headlines, based on the target GEO or vertical chosen, because the creatives for adult and home improvement are different at their core.

After figuring out the main components of each headline of yours and writing them down in a column, it is time to get the stats for each headline:

  • Messages Sent
  • Open Rate (OR)
  • Click Rate (CR)
  • Unsubscribe Rate (UR)

Aggregate everything next against a certain set of components, e.g.:

Emojis Components Sent OR CR UR
🙂 Trig.+Gen. 14,965 10,90% 0,54% 0,64%
Guid.+Trig.+Pers. 156,035 12,28% 0,71% 1,01%
Trig.+Gen. 39,998 15,80% 1,01% 0,14%
Guid.+Trig.+Pers. 212,093 21,04% 1,02% 0,76%


You are looking for high clickability and low unsubcription rates. Segmentation can go beyond just verticals and GEOs. You can differentiate between brand-new customers, opt-in leads, freebie lovers etc. This can help you to finesse your headlines even further and target the audience segments precisely.

Then go for A/B testing:

  • Write a headline casually (Option A) and with the use of potentially right components (Option B)
  • Send both letters at the beginning of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday), because people will require some time before opening your message, and they will barely do so on the weekend
  • Monitor the stats for each letter for up to 5 days and input the results into the table
  • Triple check your findings and run A/B test for the same formula at least 3 times and for a different selection of people


Writing killer headlines is a science and an art simultaneously. That’s probably one of the hardest parts of any text. Therefore, the more approaches you know towards accomplishing this goal — the better you are prepared.

Today, we have shown a more scientific approach to writing headlines. The basic idea, is to determine some core elements you (others) use frequently in your (their) headlines. Next, test these sets of elements via A/B testing against the vanilla option and see if your hunch is correct. By polishing your headline writing skill like this, you will rely more and more on logic and numbers, instead of intuition and guesses.

Have a story to tell about traffic arbitrage?
Become a ZorbasMedia contributor!
Become an author