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Successful Headlines

I presented on Content Marketing for the Triangle AMA this past Friday and always try to emphasize that headlines are more important than ever. No matter what channel you decide to use (i.e. You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and media, ultimately the headline is the first thing that will pull your audience in. David Ogilvy, the famed advertising man, had this to say about headlines:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Below is what he professed to be his best headline. Most people have probably see this famous ad. There are some tenets that many writers have forgotten. They are forgotten because writers tend to thing about the copy - the post, the long set of words before they ever think about the headline. Here's a few tips I have learned over the years:
  1. Just write the facts - forget the puffery
  2. Create it in 7 words, although long-form headlines can work too if written well
  3. Write for your audience - what they are interested in
  4. Think about the pain point the headline solves
  5. Think about the benefit the headline offers
  6. Use numbers in your headline (The 10 best...)
  7. People are motivated by fear, loss and what's in it for me - write to one of those
  8. Educate - your headline can educate ("How to build...")
Books worth reading to improve your copy skills:
  • "David Ogilvy on Advertising"
  • The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of All Time” by Richard S. Hodgson
  • “Making Ads Pay” by John Caples
  • "On the Art of Copywriting" by Hershell Gordon Lewis

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