Headlines have always been important in marketing.
Way back when, headlines were the things that got you to buy the newspaper or magazine in the first place, before you even saw the ads. Today, headlines are more important than ever. In times when we’re bombarded with content, if your headline’s not up to scratch, consumers won’t even read the headline let alone the ad.
Whatever you’re selling a good headline is all important. A good headline can make all the difference to your press ad., sales letter, marketing email, press release or article.
Here’s some advice on writing a better headline.
First of all, a good headline needs to:
* Be eye catching. Something that will stand out amongst the hundreds if not thousands of headlines we all see each day.
(Please, whatever you do, don’t resort to ‘New’ or worse still to ‘LOOK’!)
* Encourage action. Your headline needs to give the reader a very good reason (ideally benefits) for reading the rest of your ad.
* Unique in some way. Unique headlines are more eye catching and more memorable.
* Concise. This is more important than ever, especially with online copy. The best headlines are short enough to fit on a single line, two at most.
Good headline writing techniques to use:
Copywriters have many techniques at their disposal for writing highly effective headlines. Here are a few which are easy to use and which you can try for yourself:
* Think of your headline as an ad. Not as an ad. for whatever you’re selling, but as an ad. for your ad. Its primary purpose is to get people to read not just buy.
* Make a claim. An intriguing, maybe even slightly controversial or shocking headline claim can be very effective. Be sure to justify your claim in your copy.
* Make a promise. Use a headline that suggests that, by reading your copy, your reader will gain some kind of tangible benefit. Again, your copy should deliver on that promise.
* Ask a question. Questions are eye catching, thought provoking and encourage a reader to keep reading. Notice how many ‘famous’ ads. use question headlines.
* Use facts and figures. Facts and figures carry a lot of weight – people tend to trust them more than just words alone. Remember the good old ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats’ classic headline? The same principle still works (but ideally with some more imaginative facts and figures.)
If necessary, conduct a survey or do some research in order to compile facts and figures you can use.
And here’s absolutely the next acid test for your headlines:
Does your headline positively encourage a reader to keep reading, to find out what comes next?
If it does – congratulations, you’ve written a great headline.
If it doesn’t – commiserations….. keep trying!
Mark Hempshell is a copywriter and content marketer. You can find more useful articles on copywriting and content marketing here: www.markhempshell.com