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26 ways to write better headlines

By November 25, 2016 No Comments

headlinesHeadlines are the gateway to your website, blog, newsletter, e-shot, advertisement, direct mailshot or any other promotional piece. Ineffective headline? The result = fewer readers and sales.

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” ~ David Ogilvy

When I was 26, I landed a job as a trainee copywriter. For the next three years, my boss would disembowel my words every single working day, with a blunt red pen. Ouch!

We spent a great deal of time talking about headlines.

Marketers live and die by their headlines and I cannot stress how important they are.

Here are 26 tips for you:

  1. Start your headline with ‘How to”
  2. Use questions in your headlines
  3. Write about what you deliver, not just what you do
  4. Include a benefit statement
  5. An emotional appeal outsells a logical approach
  6. Create pictures inside the readers’ head
  7. Use positive language and never be negative
  8. Include numbers, i.e. “7 ways to save money”
  9. How long will they have to wait?
  10. Talk in the language of your audience
  11. Write several versions, before you select your headline
  12. It is OK to write long headlines as it only takes a moment to read it
  13. Include facts and figures, if you have them
  14. Study advertisement headlines
  15. Avoid superlatives regarding your fantastic product
  16. Help, don’t just sell
  17. See your headline from the reader’s perspective
  18. Provide proof
  19. Be bold
  20. Where appropriate, convey a sense of urgency
  21. Don’t Use Leading Capitals As They Are A Bit Harder To Read
  22. Avoid humour in headlines; they won’t all get the joke
  23. Ask whether the reader has a specific problem?
  24. Don’t be vague
  25. Don’t make the reader think too hard
  26. Ensure that your message is clear

Oh, and tip #27: Employ a professional copywriter (like me, for example). If you would like to learn how to be a better copywriter or if you would like someone to do the writing for you, email me via nigel@nigeltemple.com call me on +44(0)1628 773128. I have written over a million words of copy for thousands of clients and I love to write.

Nigel Temple

Nigel Temple

Nigel Temple BA (Hons) MCIM is a marketing consultant, speaker and trainer. He helps enterprises to find more customers and to communicate with them more effectively. Email: nigel@nigeltemple.com | Call: +44 (0)1628 773128

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