When you’ve written for the web during a long time, you’ve probably heard of the 4U’s formula, which states that content must be Urgent, Utilizable, Unique, and Ultra-specific. The 4U Headline formula was initially designed by business coach and serial businessman  Michael Masterson. The formula works well when it comes to headlines, titles, and subject lines for emails. However, with just a slight modification, it could also be an effective formula for writing blogs.

So, what do the four U’s mean?


The urgency of headlines can convince people to read the mail, go to read the article or buy the book. The urgency of the content allows readers to apply the value factor, allowing them to resolve issues or achieve goals more quickly.

Although urgency is a crucial element for headlines, if you aren’t able to apply all four U’s in your content, urgency is the word to ignore. It’s because originality, usefulness, and ultra-specificity are much more crucial in the body of the text than urgency, and it’s also because it’s a challenge to keep the urgency in the content without sounding aggressive.


Uniqueness is important because if people have read similar content or gained benefits elsewhere, they’ll not be interested in your article. Your identity encompasses everything from your writing style to the value visitors gain from reading your material.


If your content isn’t helpful, then why should people read it? Your content could be unique or ultra-specific and urgent without actually being helpful. Your uniqueness will draw people in; however, the value of your content is what drives readers to read on. It must provide a benefit to solve a challenge or, in any other way, provide value to your readers.


There is a possibility for content to provide benefit and not be specific; however, as clear and precise your piece will be, the more valuable it’ll be. It’s also possible for content to be extremely specific but not beneficial. This can happen if your content isn’t able to match your audience effectively or it doesn’t address a need your audience faces.

Being extremely specific doesn’t mean that every blog post you write has to be a checklist of steps, how-tos, or step-by-step guide, even though those formats are very popular for reasons. Specificity is crucial as it improves the value of the content and enhances its appeal.

Writing great headlines with the 4 U’s

The headlines that are constructed using the 4 U’s can persuade readers to click through and read the entire article because they:

·  tell readers precisely what they can expect from studying the content

·  the content will provide a benefit for those who read it

·  are more persuasive than the generic headlines.

·  are timely

To make compelling, catchy, click-worthy headlines and titles using the formula 4U, your headline must:

·  be as beneficial to readers as possibly can

·  give a sense that there is urgency

·  be unique

·  do this all in a precise way

An example of this can be found in the name of a recent article on Copyblogger, “How to Sell Without Selling” which has been shared on a variety of social networks more than 1000 times. What is the best way to follow the formula of the 4U Headline?

Urgent: 2 out of 4. This title isn’t ranked with respect to urgency. It doesn’t contain any timescale (such as “now,” “today,” or “10 days”) to draw readers attention to click on it. However, users are likely to click and share the content because the reward they gain is something they’d like in the shortest time possible. Research on your audience is a must.

Unique: 2 out of 4. The art of writing sales copy that doesn’t sound too pushy is a widespread topic for bloggers, marketers on the internet, web writers, bloggers, and many other types of people; therefore, the piece’s value isn’t unique. However, the format that the headline follows is unique, thanks to its short and alliterative phraseology.

Useful: 4 out of 4. The readers know that they’ll discover something (“how do I”) and understand what they’re going to discover (“sell with no selling”). It promises that the Copyblogger readers want to know about the art of writing emails and other material to increase sales without sounding like a sales pitch. This book has a lot of benefits.

Ultra-Specific: 3 out of 4. However, this particular title could better be structured – “How you can Use the trust to sell without Selling,” for instance – it offers both implicit and explicit advantages. It explains to readers precisely what they can expect from studying.

It’s difficult to determine if you’re rated 3 or 4 for all U’s. If your headlines and titles don’t earn at least a rating from 3 to 4, you’ve got the potential for improvement.

Writing great Copy using the 4 U’s

The 4U Headline’s formula could assist you in writing more effective articles, newsletters, and other types of content.

The same factors that make the 4U Headline so effective also motivate readers to continue reading the article or even send an email. This is why this popular copywriting tips

is a popular method used by the Copyblogger. If you came across an article that was unique in details or advantages, was highly useful, specifically dealt with an issue, and completed it quickly, would you not want to take the time to read it all?

Your readers feel exactly the same as you do. So, the next time you are struggling to figure out how to write your content for your readers, use the four U’s in the following order:

·  unique

·  useful

·  ultra-specific

·  urgent

Applying the 4 U’s to your content and copy is slightly different from applying them to headlines. Uniqueness and utility are tied for the top spot in importance because you have to use both to draw viewers to stay. Ultra-specificity is next in importance as it assists the previous two, but you can also get off without it at times. The last one is urgency for content since it’s challenging to maintain a sense of urgency in your copy without being reminiscent of a sales pitch.

Receiving high marks in each of the 4 categories isn’t always feasible; however, your goal should be to incorporate all 4U Headline into your blog post, email, newsletters, ebooks, and other material as much as possible.You can use these advices to create more effective titles and content or refer to Study Crumb for an assistance.

Author's Bio


Pooja is the head of operations at italics, a content marketing agency based in India. She manages content development and marketing for clients belonging to a wide range of industries. She is more than 8 years of experience in SEO content writing, copywriting, thought leadership and article writing. She is also a certified psychologist and an expert in analysing consumer behaviour to generate winning content

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