There’s no getting around it – if you’re in business you have to write headlines (or have them written) for emails, printed material, landing pages, adword ads, and oh, just about anything else that you send out from your business. Why are headlines so important? “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.”1 So, I’ve been on a quest to improve my headline writing skills and here is some of what I’ve learned. I’m counting on you to post and let me know if my headline skills have, or have not, improved.
1. Warning Sign: Does not compel the reader to read more
If the reader can read your headline and has a response such as, “yeah, so what? You need to rewrite. Dave Garfield2 calls this the “So what? Who Cares?” Test.
Previous Title I used for a blog article
Successful Marketing in 2009
Secrets for Successful Marketing in 2009
2. Warning Sign: Does not tell the reader what benefit there is for them
If your headline does not let your reader know which needs, interests, or wants of theirs, is going to be fulfilled reconsider your copy.
Previous Blog article title
Learning Styles in the Workplace: Why You Should Care
How Understanding Learning Styles will save your Company Time & Money
3. Warning Sign: Low on the curiosity scale
Curiosity may have killed the cat but it’s good for headlines.
Not so great example:
We have great low prices
How to notch up your printing without breaking the bank
4. Warning Sign: TOO MANY CAPS or too many !!!!!
ALL CAPS SAYS TO THE READER YOU’RE AFRAID THAT YOUR COPY ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH SO YOU HAVE TO SHOUT TO GET THEIR ATTENTION. Really IRRITATING . And using too many exclamation marks plain and simple – does not work. Your title either is or is not exciting. If it isn’t, no number of exclamation marks is going to help. It will still be boring!!!!!!!!!!!!
No examples needed on this.
5. Warning Sign: Written from the companies viewpoint
You need to come in where your customers are – not where you are. “Enter the conversation already going on in the customer’s mind.”2
Fictitious Title example:
Next Day Flyers – Printing Done Fast
Next Day Flyers – Quick Relief for your Printing Woes
So, were my “Better” titles really better? After reading this article are there any headlines you’ve written in the past that you’d now write differently? Please share.
- CopyBlogger: How to Write Magnetic Headlines (great series of articles)
- Book: Advertising Headlines that Make You Rich by David Garfinkel (2006, Morgan James)
- They Laughed When I Said There Was a Secret to Writing Good Headlines by John McMahon