“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.” — David Ogilvy
Okay, today’s post is all about headlines and how to write them. It’s not the easiest skill to pick up but you could argue it’s one of the most important skills in internet marketing today.
I know that’s a big claim but a lot of experts agree…
So Here’s Seven Ways To Make Your Headlines Grab Attention…
1. Collect Headlines Collect headlines in a book or write them on index cards. I know it sounds simple but this one tip will save you a lot of pain. By writing out headlines you get a feel for what really works.
2. The 15-20 Rule. Without question, one of the easiest ways to write a great headline is to write loads of them and pick the best. I like to write out 15 to 20 headlines before I fall in love with one. And there’s no substitute for hard work.
The real secret is to getting started!
3. Specifics. If there’s one simple “trick” that will make all your headlines shine then it’s this… be specific. Don’t say “the dog” say “the springer spaniel”. Target in on your topic.
4. Be the Reader. This is really easy to do and it helps a ton. Before you spend any money at all (or take any risk) ask yourself:
“If I was my reader, would this headline get me to read the next line?”
Because the whole point of your headline is to call out to your specific reader and get them to read your ad. If it fails to do this one little thing then it isn’t a good headline and you’re wasting your time…and we all know Time is Money.
5. Convert The Skeptics. One of the biggest mistakes people make in their headlines is pretty easy to fix. All you have to do is read them like you’re a skeptic and tear them apart. If there’s any reason at all that a skeptic wouldn’t believe your headline then there’s a good chance it won’t work at all.
6. Break The News. People love news. One of the easiest ways to write a headline that gets read is to have something really new or fascinating to say. After all, you can only use so many “tricks” and in the end your ads have to be helpful. They have to serve your readers. And one of the best ways to do this is to share interesting news.
7. Contrast. Almost nobody talks about this but one of the best ways to write an ad that gets read is to simply stand out from the crowd. You know, if everyone’s using short headlines then maybe you should consider a long one .
As always, you should test and measure the results. That will tell you for sure.
A Few Common Mistakes…
1. Tricky headlines. The funny thing about headlines that make you laugh is they almost never work. Your readers don’t like being “tricked” into buying from you and they don’t like to be tricked into reading your first sentence either. If your headline makes you laugh then throw it out. This isn’t the place to be clever.
2. Unbelievable Claims. Quite often you’ll find that a king-sized promise will flop as a headline. It wasn’t always this way but today’s crowds are skeptical of every word you say. The fact is, people are more likely to believe you if you don’t make any Godzilla-sized claims.
3. Curiosity Kills The Cat. Hey, don’t get me wrong. You should always strive to build curiosity into your headlines but the mistake people make is going too far and assuming that everyone will read their funky little ads if they slap some dumb headline up there.
Again, as I always say to the fellow Joebots, its all about hard work and finding what works for you. Be yourself, but use these tips to improve. Good luck and let me know if I can help.