Headline: copy designed to catch the reader’s eye and stop him in his tracks
Stop. Before reading another word of this, pick up a magazine and flip through it. What’s the first ad that caught your eye? What’s the headline? How long did it take to get to there? And that’s the problem.
Many times writers are so fixated on getting the message in the body of the copy dead-on accurate that they forget all about the headline. But really, if the headline doesn’t have that drop-dead stop-them-in-their-tracks wow factor, you’ve already lost your audience.
Consumers scan headlines before they decide to read an ad. If your headline isn’t powerful, your copy, no mater how great, might as well say “blah, blah, blah” because no one is going to read it. An effective headline doesn’t just pique your reader’s curiosity, it hooks them, compelling them to read more.
So what’s a copywriter to do? Here are three techniques that make your headlines powerful:
Be Direct with an Offer or Guarantee Headlines don’t have to be complicated. If you have a special offer that will lure customers in, then say so. For example:
Take a 30-Day Test Drive and Decide for Yourself. Print ad for: Escort Radar
Our Best Rates Guaranteed. Print ad for: Hilton Hotels
Make a Statement Always popular, typically creative and catchy, sometimes just a couple of short words or a sentence or two. Magazines are loaded with these headlines, but you have to know your market, your products and what exactly it is you’re trying to sell to determine if using a statement as your headline is right for your ad. As in:
Be One in a Million, Not One of a Million Print ad for: Pantene Pro-V
Pricey Ink Stinks Print ad for: Kodak
Stop. Rinse. Play. Print ad for: Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash
The Gorilla Has Evolved. Now It Gets Stronger, Faster. Print ad for: Gorilla Glue
Use News in Your Headline If your introducing a new product or an improvement to an existing one, you can use that news in your headline. Introducing, Finally, Announcing, Now and New are popular choice words you’ll find in these types of headlines. Samples include:
Introducing Freschetta Pizzamore. For Take-Out Taste at Your Place. Print ad for: Freschetta Pizzamore
We’ve Always Helped You Rock. Now We Help You Roll. Print ad for: XM NavTraffic
New Southwestern Style Veggie Cakes Print ad for: MorningStar Farms
Now go out and rock some headlines. Happy writing.