Mastering Headlines: Watch Me Critique 7 Headlines LIVE!

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What does it take to write an ad, headline, or subject line that’s impossible to ignore?

Come along with me as I take you through one of my favorite copywriting exercises ever. I’m going to let you look over my shoulder as I critique this copy from &Frankly

And 6 other variations of it – submitted by the Posse community. 

What made them great, what left me wanting more, and what would make them even more powerful?

Hey, Posse! What’s up? It’s Alex. 

If you’re following me on Instagram, @copyposse, then you’ve probably seen my regular “Make It Hotter” posts…

Where I find an ad, headline, or subject line – and put it out to the community to… you guessed it – “Make It Hotter”!

Not only is this one of my FAVORITE ways to practice, but it’s also a great way to see how other copywriters think…

Which ultimately helps you better understand WHY certain things work and WHY certain things don’t… 

And, the BEST part of this exercise for me is when I get to put on my Posse Prof spectacles and critique the top-voted submissions.

So in today’s blog, I’m going to take you through one of my latest editions of “Make It Hotter” and break down my critiques of each Ad—point by point. 

So let’s get started.

First, let’s take a look at this post – where I asked the Posse community to make this ad even hotter.

This was an ad for &Frankly –  a tool that helps organizations understand their employees, keep them engaged and drive everyone toward better performance.⁠

⁠Now here’s their original ad copy…  ⁠

⁠Did you know only 15% of employees are engaged at work?⁠

⁠Be the manager that raises the bar with &Frankly.⁠


Not bad, but I gotta admit I liked these Posse-fied versions WAY better. 

But before I get to my critique of the submissions, first let’s critique &Frankly’s original copy… 

What worked? What was lacking? And what could be better?

Now, the first thing I notice is how short this copy is. 

The whole thing is just two sentences. 

Short copy can work extremely well – but when it’s this short, that actually makes your job as a copywriter HARDER. 

Because you have to pack a super powerful punch in a very limited number of words. 

Which means every single word NEEDS TO COUNT.

So here they start off with the hook: “Did you know only 15% of employees are engaged at work?

Now I actually really like the use of what I call the “FYI” hook. They’re using a statistic that’s probably pretty shocking to most managers and business owners – or anyone really who runs a team. 

Which means they’re immediately capturing the attention of their target audience. 

But remember, every word really needs to count here. 

So I would actually eliminate the “did you know” at the beginning and just go straight into the stats: “Only 15% of employees are engaged at work”…

Because remember – when you are leading with a question like this, MOST people will want some sort of explanation or more details to follow it up with. 

So this is a great hook, but if they want to lead with this question then I would do that with the description copy that accompanies this ad – where they have more room to elaborate a little more and draw the reader in even further. 

Now the next and final sentence of this ad is, “Be the manager that raises the bar with &frankly.⁠”

Alright, so I see what they’re trying to do here… 

They are once again calling out their target audience – but this time very directly by actually saying “be the manager that raises the bar”…

And they’re also playing into the reader’s sense of status or ego. 

They’re basically saying – Hey, the way your employees act and work is a reflection on YOU. Other people are judging you based on this metric. 

So they’re really trying to get this manager to want to take action in order to boost their own self-image – or how others perceive them. 

Which is brilliant

BUT I think the way they accomplish this could be done better. 

It’s pretty vague on HOW this manager is going to raise the bar…

Are they going to be an asshole that everyone hates? Cracking down on lunch breaks and monitoring screen time? That would do the opposite of what the manager actually wants, right?

So I would suggest they replace this sentence with something else that adds more context on how using &Frankly is going to make this manager into a superhero that uplevels the workplace and saves the day. 

So much more motivating right?

Alright and finally, they end with the CTA of “Learn More

Which I think is great. Short and crystal clear. 

Overall, this Ad is good. 

But let’s see what the Posse thinks…

First, here’s a quick recap of my 3-step formula for writing a H.O.T. Headline…

And don’t worry about taking notes on this formula, because I have a free guide waiting for you at the end that will break each one of these steps down for you. 

Now, a hot headline should…

  1. Hook Attention – start with a concept or idea that grabs the reader’s attention by either provoking an emotion (fear, joy, controversy, FOMO, nostalgia, etc.) OR promising a desired result or clear USP (unique selling proposition). 
  2. Open A Loop – pique curiosity & incentivize your audience to read further.
  3. Target Your Audience – Make it crystal clear exactly who you are speaking.

Alright, so now let’s take a look at the Posse’s submissions – along with my critique of them.

These 6 ads were selected for critique because they received the most amount of “likes” or “votes” from the community.

Let’s take a look…

#1 – You don’t know but your dream team is already working with you! With &Frankly, become the leader who gets the employees ENGAGED to their work and lead the company to the 1% club.

#2 – Is your team asleep at the wheel? Time to wake them up and ignite there passion for a job well done. &Frankly can show you how.

#3 – Hear that? It’s 85% of your workforce quiet quitting. &Frankly, there is much you can do about it! Learn more.

#4 – Make your team feel like they truly belong because only 15% feel they do. Your job is hard enough. Let &Frankly do the rest.

#5 – Is your workplace a certified Z.O.Z (Zone-Out-Zone)? Studies show that 85% of your employees are NOT engaged at work. Raise productivity with &Frankly.

#6 – Your employees are feeling left out! 85% of them… Increase your team’s productivity and win the best manager award this year with &Frankly.

Everyone did such a great job on this exercise.

Now, if you want to play along in the next edition of “Make It Hotter” – be sure to follow me on Instagram at @CopyPosse.

If you liked this blog and want to see more in-depth critiques like it in the future, comment below and let me know!

And don’t forget to grab a copy of my FREE H.O.T. Headline Guide – so you can learn exactly how to write headlines that grab attention and stop scrollers in their tracks – you can grab that in just a few seconds at the end of this video.

Thanks for watching. Until next time, I’m Alex – ciao for now!

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