The Long and Short of Headlines

by Feb 13, 2008Content | Social Media | Email, Marketing

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Many people will never read more than the headline of your advertisement or the cover of your brochure. With that in mind, make sure your headlines connect with your customers, leave a lasting impression, and encourage them to read on.

It is All About the Customer!

Grabbing a customer’s attention by making the reader feel the copy was written specifically for them. Do this by leading with a problem that is relevant to the reader.

For example: “Is your new business keeping you up at night?” “Are you tired of boring workshops?”

Another twist on this approach is to define the audience – “For all small business owners who….” In each case, the reader identifies with the headline and is more likely to continue.

Urgent News

If you have something new, promote it in your headlines. Words such as “Introducing” or “Announcing” or “New” are strong in headline copy.

Headlines can also create a sense of urgency. Date oriented terms such as “Beginning” or “On” and price oriented terms such as “Only” or “Reduced By” encourage readers to pay attention.

Long Relevant Headlines

While common, there is no rule that says a headline must be short. Sometimes a long, well written, a headline can be the most effective way to grab attention and speak to the reader.

One of the best examples of a long, effective headline was written by advertising expert David Ogilvy. He considers the following to be one of his best headlines, and I certainly agree. “At 60 Miles Per Hour, The Loudest Noise In The New Rolls Royce Comes From The Electric Clock” It’s long, yet, it holds the attention of the reader because of the dramatic twist. In one line, Ogilvy managed to connect the company name to a clear buyer benefit – Rolls Royce – Quiet Ride!

Leave the Best for Last

Many people only read the headlines, so it is tempting to lead with your company name. However, if you haven’t captured the reader’s attention, you haven’t earned the right to present your name. Use creative headlines to encourage the reader to find out who you are.

Editor’s note:  This blog post about advertisement headlines was written in 2008.  All of the content is as relevant in today’s digital world. 

Great Headlines Take Time

I have often spent more time crafting the perfect headline than I have on the entire blog post or newsletter. Why, because if you don’t grab their attention your potential client may scroll right by. Learn how to write great headlines now.

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