If content is King, then Headlines are Queen!
Because if you can’t get people to click on your blog posts, it doesn’t matter how great your content is.
In this article I’m going to provide you with a few tips for creating viral worthy headlines:
1. Prepare first. Do your research. Begin by identifying 5 key elements: your target market… what product or service you’re promoting… the biggest benefits your product or service offers… your prospect’s major frustration… and what special inducements you could use to encourage more interest.
2. Learn all you can about your audience. Understand why this audience will be interested in what you have to offer. Ask yourself, “What’s the single, most compelling reason a prospect should choose me, my product or service vs. the competition?” Determine the best medium to reach prospects and uncover the strongest, most compelling promise you can make about your product or service.
3. Empathize with your target market. Begin from the mindset of a typical prospect. Get inside his or her mind. Communicate from a solid understanding of your prospect’s thoughts and feelings of the moment. Empathy removes the barriers and shortens the distance between you and your market. Empathy builds rapport.
Your ability to come from an understanding of your reader’s point of view, gives you an advantage and makes you a likely candidate for the prospect’s attention, interest, and business.
4. Investigate all aspects of the product or service thoroughly. Look at it in different ways and from unique perspectives. Often potentially explosive, fresh, headline material lies hidden— just waiting to be discovered.
5. Assess the competitive environment before constructing your headline. Create a headline that’s likely to contrast with all others vying for the same audience. If all competing messages are screaming loudly for attention, take an opposite approach and whisper. Find an unusual edge, a unique angle that you can ethically exploit and turn into promotional firepower. Find something competitors aren’t using that you can boast about.
6. Consider possible barriers, objections or marketplace challenges and provide a solid answer. What obstacles does your headline have to overcome? Is there a major hurdle or misconception to clear about your industry, company, product or service?
7. Launch your headline project with a blank pad of paper and a list of key words related to your business, audience, product, services and the unique advantages that set you apart. Next, try writing a straightforward claim about how the prospect will gain from whatever it is you’re offering.
8. Envision your typical prospect as you write your headline. Create a composite of the type of individual you want to address and keep this image in the back of your mind. This strategy will help you develop a headline with reader-appeal – one that enables the prospect to imagine himself getting the same kind of results your headline promises.
9. Think about some of the other factors that are important to your prospect. Then hint at a secret— that special something about your raw materials, ingredients, processes, sources, or methods that would most impress your target audience.
10. Invest plenty of time into headline development. Examine several possibilities. Try different word combinations. Experiment. Be prepared to rewrite and revise. Eventually you’ll evolve a potent collection of words that will work well as a headline.
11. Discover a problem that your product or service addresses effectively and then present your solution as an easier, faster, less expensive, or more comfortable alternative. Reach out to your prospects with a better option.
12. Talk to your existing customers. Get to know them. Find out the underlying reasons why they bought from you. This will help you make the right emotional connection with new prospective customers—the kind of connection you want to establish with your headline.
13. Collect headlines that capture your eye or attract your interest and save them. Study successful headlines from the past and write out several of these by hand, before attempting to write your own headline. This technique gives you the unique viewpoint of the original writer. Warm-up with this little exercise and you’ll be giving yourself a definite advantage from the start.
Tips For More Effective Headlines
14. Deliver your main message immediately. You only have 1 to 3 seconds to lure serious prospects with your headline.
15. Use benefit-oriented headings at the top of every ad or marketing communication. Never use this most valuable space to announce your company name. Even the most basic, benefit-oriented headline will command more attention than a name, unless the name itself conveys a strong, unique benefit.
16. Grab your target prospect by the jugular. Don’t beat around the bush. Reach out daringly, provocatively and directly in a way that’s impossible to overlook.
17. Make your headline tempting, teasing, and tantalizing. Touch a nerve in your prospect. Generate a headline that’s difficult to resist.
18. Think benefits. Benefits are helpful or useful advantages that are clearly spelled out for the prospect. A good headline strategy to use is to deliver the biggest, most unique and desirable benefit possible. The strongest benefit you can isolate is prime headline material.
19. Keep it clear and concise. Refine… rewrite… reduce… and otherwise modify until you have your headline down to a brief statement with an unmistakable message. Craft a handful of words that resonate with your prospect. Most people today prefer information in quick, easy to digest, bite-size pieces.
20. Compose your headline with an understanding of the sheer volume of competing messages that are all vying for the same prospect’s attention. You want people to perk-up… to pay attention to your message… so you need to develop a headline that advertising-weary eyes will find appealing. Entice prospects into the rest of your message with a riveting opener.
21. Consider it an “ad for an ad”, a line or two you run at the top of a display ad or marketing piece to lure attention. In effect, your targeted headline says this, “Here’s something important, unique and of value to you, dear prospect. Pay attention here or you’ll miss out”.
22. Stick to a single, coherent idea or concept. Focus on one powerful thought that is easily understood and absorbed in an instant. Think of your headline as a “grabber” that must be compelling enough to interrupt the busy person and get him or her to notice your message. Your headline does the job when an otherwise indifferent reader is pulled into the body of your message. One strong idea is all you can expect busy people to grasp in a quick glance.
23. Summarize your main selling message as a headline. Readers should get the gist of what your entire message is about by reading headlines and sub-headings only. By offering your strongest selling point up-front, you help attract prospects who are genuinely interested and you’ll help turn away the “tire-kickers”.
24. Capture attention quickly. The single, most important task of any headline is to get noticed. One way to get noticed is to stand out from the crowd. Think of your ad as a telegraphic communication, conceived for the purpose of attracting qualified attention from the maximum number of prospects. Your headline needs to hit hard and hit fast.
25. Beware of making statements that others could easily claim as their own. Generic benefits that others offer are too common to be effective. Add an original twist with a specific promise or result.
26. Convert facts into meaningful prospect benefits. Avoid headlines that are mere factual statements about a product or service. The facts are only features and features by themselves, don’t sell. True prospects are attracted by what those facts mean. It’s the sizzling benefits and mouthwatering descriptions that pull larger audiences.
27. Be upbeat and positive. Paint a bright future. Offer workable solutions that provide hope and inspiration. Avoid gloomy, negative headlines. Raise the spirits of your audience with an upbeat approach.
28. Simplify your message so it’s easy to grasp. Don’t force people to stop and think about what it is you’re trying to say, or you’ll quickly lose the audience. Your prospects won’t waste any valuable time trying to figure it out.
29. Recall anecdotes from your personal or business history. Use this human interest information to create an original headline that intrigues and captivates. Forge a connection with your past that casts you in a new light— one that’s potentially advantageous to prospects.
30. Observe the headline techniques of major consumer magazines and supermarket tabloids. Many such publications rely on newsstand sales, so the appeal of the front covers and more specifically, those featured headlines, are of paramount importance. Notice how these headlines are created to motivate the reader to read on.
31. Challenge assumptions. Break from tradition. Non-conformity can lead to breakthrough headline concepts. Be open to creative ideas and be willing to push the envelope and test new approaches.
32. Choose descriptions that emphasize the unique value of your offer and lend legitimacy to your company, product, or service. Indispensability and credibility are two powerful qualities for attracting huge interest.
33. Explore your personal library and filing cabinet, as well as the local library for headline ideas. Seek out various information sources that relate to your business. Magazines, books, manuals and newspaper clippings can all provide fertile ground for headline ideas. Pay particular attention to article headlines, sub-headings, book titles and chapter titles. Look for trigger words, thoughts, concepts and observations that can jump-start your creativity and build on these idea boosters.
34. Look to unrelated fields for ideas. Recast these headlines to suit your own application. This method will help you develop a headline message that’s completely different from your competitors. Customize the idea to fit your specific target market.
35. Brainstorm words and phrases related to your product or service. Think of both features and benefits. Just let your mind flow, unrestricted by limitation. Write down every idea, even those seemingly ridiculous or outrageous thoughts. At this stage, you simply want to generate a steady flow of ideas. Think and write. Do not edit. Afterwards, review your list and expand on those possibilities with promising appeal.
36. Learn from proven successes. Take what works elsewhere and apply it in a way that’s compelling, memorable and persuasive. Review direct mail samples that arrive in your mailbox, particularly, those you’ve received more than once. Successful mailers are very direct in their delivery. Most profitable mailings get right to the point with benefit-oriented headline copy, presented with clarity and unveiled promptly.
Headline Strategies That Work
37. Distinguish your message from all others. Take a road less traveled. Try an approach that’s different from the typical or traditional. You’ll attract more attention when you break the mold and do something that sets you apart.
38. Strive for a provocative headline. Formulate your words in a way that no genuine prospect can ignore. Compel your audience to read on to get the full story. Insist on the strongest, most compelling collection of words. If your headline fails to capture an audience, the rest of your message won’t even be noticed. Be bold. Pull out all the stops to seize maximum attention.
39. Entice prospects with something specific… something you know your prospect would love to do, have, or be. Present it as a way to make the prospect’s life richer, easier, happier, less stressful, more fulfilling, or more meaningful than it is now. There’s an underlying reason your audience will want to tune into your message. Find it and use that enticing reason in your headline.
40. Develop a “big idea” for your headline— one that’s sure to arrest the attention of the typically indifferent passer-by. A big idea is the ultimate benefit— often a combination of smaller benefits. If your idea is a big enough benefit, it should only require a few short words to attract attention. If the audience can grasp it quickly, they’ll want to know more and will read further.
41. Distill your most unique advantages or benefits down to one powerful sentence that packs a punch. One format that works is to string your top three benefits together into one statement. Choose the most important, most valuable claim or promise you can offer your prospects. The appeal of a huge promise is what lures prospects.
42. Use your headline to narrow readership to only those who are the best prospects for what you’re offering. Flag down your prospects by letting them know immediately that this message is specifically addressed, and of crucial importance. Identifying your market intensifies interest among the target group, while turning away others who aren’t genuine prospects for your offer.
43. Choose the best 6 or 7 headlines from your long list of possibilities. Then, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and select the one heading most likely to stop you in your tracks, if you were scanning a page of classified ads or flipping through a magazine.
44. Do the unexpected. You’ll arouse interest and curiosity so the reader will be drawn in to find out more. Catch prospects by surprise with something interesting. Anything
out of the ordinary quickly commands attention. The worst thing you can possibly do is to offer the same old boring headlines that have a similar look to many others.
45. Zero in on the thoughts that are foremost on your prospect’s mind. The more accurately you pinpoint this mindset, the more likely you’ll engage the interest of an increased number of readers. Research is the key.
46. Spark interest by first identifying a problem the prospect has been forced to endure because until now, there was no alternative solution available. Identifying the specific problem helps target qualified prospects, builds rapport, and then sets up the scenario for your new, improved miraculous or magical solution.
47. Craft a headline that piques interest. A good headline makes you want to know more. It induces interest by planting a seed of possibility.
48. Customize a famous quotation so it supports your sales message or enhances a major benefit.
49. Combine headlines with attention-getting photographs. Be sure the headline and graphic work together to deliver a single, easily-understood message.
50. Indicate why your audience should believe your claim. Provide detailed proof later in your body copy, but at least hint up-front, at some credibility-building evidence to justify your claims. A sub-heading is a great location to suggest supporting proof.
51. Trigger a powerful emotion in your audience. Add a “feel good” or “peace of mind” component and your message will be well received. Present benefits that evoke powerful emotions. Determine what the important issues are that influence prospects, and then touch on these key concerns. Headlines that stir emotions motivate active readership.
52. Address the self-interest of your audience. Speak to your prospects in a way that builds acceptance and respect. When you talk to a prospect about something that’s near and dear to his heart, you quickly gain an attentive ear.
53. Present what your product isn’t, before revealing what it is. This helps to carve out a special niche in the marketplace and it arouses curiosity because the reader can identify with claims about what your product is not— which is exactly the thing many competitors are pushing.
54. Appeal to the anger and frustration experienced by prospects. This tells the prospect that you’re acutely aware of the problem and you understand how he feels. Bingo! Instant rapport.
55. Be clear enough in your wording to at least clue readers in to the strong benefit you have to offer. If the main headline isn’t crystal clear on the benefit offered, use a subheading that directly expounds on that benefit. Avoid blind headlines that may attract attention, but aren’t followed up with a big benefit promise.
56. Turn passive, scanning readers into active, interested prospects by encouraging action with a direct command headline.
57. Appeal to the natural desire for instant gratification. Prospects want to know how to gain the benefit mentioned in the least amount of time possible. A time-saving strategy is a proven winner.
58. Establish a position of prominence by raising the perception of your product or service to heroic status. Make a compelling promise. Elevate your new, alternative solution to a superior level. Use this strategy when offering a radical, new approach to a long-endured problem that’s costly or challenging to deal with. Anything that makes life easier, more enjoyable or less expensive… a solution that promises more gain and/or less pain, could be considered a welcome addition to the marketplace.
59. Ask a question. Provoke people to ponder. Relevant, targeted question headlines are something few can resist. They involve the reader and draw him or her deep into the heart of the message. Carefully constructed question headlines beg to be answered and therefore, pull prospects inside.
60. Encourage prospects to take action. Challenge the reader to make things happen… to take charge… in order to improve some condition or circumstance in their lives. Use an alluring promise with a substantial payoff.
61. Deliver a clear, complete and understandable message within your headline. People generally read headlines as a complete unit, taking in all the words as a single image, instantaneously. That’s why it’s so important to achieve clarity. You don’t want to create a mixed meaning or leave anything open to interpretation. A clear, complete message helps you reach more prospects, including those who normally read headlines only. You want genuine prospects to quickly recognize the importance and relevance of your message.
62. Challenge traditional thinking. Jar your prospect by placing a new face on an old product or service. Set it up as a new, improved, exciting or multifunctional alternative to the same old way of doing things. Add an unexpected or overlooked twist to the usual.
63. Pique curiosity with short, punchy headlines that get your prospect thinking and wondering. Your goal is to at least get people to find out more. To do this effectively, you must quickly deliver the payoff. Any curiosity angle used, must be directly related to the product or a benefit. Headlines that arouse curiosity without an obvious connection, rarely succeed. Instead, these teaser headlines are a quick turn-off to real prospects.
64. Give your prospects something to think about. Create an interruption. A pause for thought involves them. Get them to question an established method or belief, or to rethink a decision. Raise an issue and pull them in.
65. Surprise prospects by announcing that your new benefit-laden solution to their problem is actually derived from a simple or unusual source.
66. Act fast. Quickly serve up the most alluring advantage you can offer, since that’s all most readers see. Grab your prospect with opening words that persuade him or her to spend more time with your message because of the huge gain that it promises.
67. Pre-test your headline before using it by soliciting immediate feedback from others. Choose carefully those whose opinions you seek and closely monitor their first impressions. It’s those initial, instantaneous reactions— without allowing time to stop and think about it— that most accurately reflects the response a typical prospect may have.
68. Give your prospects what they want to hear. What good news can your product or service deliver to potential customers? What do you offer customers? What can your product give them? Imagine the most-welcome words a prospect could hear from you, based on having received the greatest possible benefit. Then, deliver those words in your headline.
69. Hint at the secrets you possess and then provide a sneak preview of this enticing, closely-held information, with the implication that there’s much more valuable information to share in the copy below.
70. Be interruptive and unexpected. Provide a sharp contrast to typical messages your audience is likely exposed to. Do everything in your power to get the prospect to take notice and continue reading.
71. Present the purest rationale for using your product or service. Deliver a simple, straightforward statement of what they’ll get and why it’s a better choice for them.
72. Express whatever you’re offering as a benefit. Benefits convey useful advantages of a product or service. It’s the prospects answer to “What’s In It For Me?” People are naturally interested in their own well-being, first and foremost. Touch on that in your headline and you’ll attract interest.
73. Dangle free premiums, gifts, bonuses, or other enticements that add extra value to the benefits of your product or service. Any free offer may help marginally, but the best results occur with a direct connection to that which is being offered.
74. Combine curiosity-arousal with a major benefit. Get self-interest into every headline. The deeper the desire to gain the benefit, the stronger the appeal to his own self-interest. Add a dash of curiosity, and you’ve got a winning strategy.
75. Add the magical enhancements of making your benefit “quick” and “easy” to obtain. Use specific amounts where possible. When you offer your prospect something he wants, and you can offer it faster and with less effort, you’re appealing to the almost universal desire for a “quick fix” solution.
76. Combine a strong benefit with an irresistible offer. This two-pronged approach intensifies interest and stimulates immediate action. The offer should be made as tempting as possible.
77. Add a news angle to your product or service that would make it more interesting to your market as a whole. Make an announcement that has a newsworthy feel to it.
Words and Phrases
78. Express the function of your product or service with flair. Add color and drama to your presentation to make it more interesting. Use words that evoke emotions and vivid mental pictures. Let your prospect enjoy a little fantasizing about what his or her life could be like.
79. Employ selected words solely for their shock value. Stop readers in their tracks. You demand attention by using words and phrases not normally associated with your type of business, product, service, or your chosen communications vehicle.
80. Add an original twist. Do something that’s slightly off-kilter. Out of the ordinary words, phrases, questions and combinations are naturally interruptive, capturing the attention and arousing the curiosity of the scanning prospect.
81. Avoid worn-out, generic descriptions and all clichés. Common expressions that have been used over and over again lack the important headline requirement of stopability.
82. Find words that characterize what you’re offering in a descriptive and appealing way.
83. Incorporate unusual, descriptive company or product names into your headline. Be aware that most typical names probably aren’t good candidates for this technique. It takes a special name to make this work. A unique or catchy name linked by association to a powerful benefit can have far-reaching positive implications.
84. Consider using quick-phrasing combinations that communicate “at-a-glance”, without the need to read each individual word in order to comprehend the meaning. Instant recognition phrases include such combinations as: free report, 24-hour service, lose weight, etc. The sooner you can transfer your message to the mind of the over-stimulated, time-poor prospect— the better.
85. Add pizzazz by linking your benefit to a well-known name. Using a name that prospects can relate to, increases readership due to the instant recognition factor. Possible names include famous people, cities, buildings, tourist attractions, companies or well-known products.
86. Use words that have attention-getting capability because they aren’t often employed for promotional purposes. Commonly used terms simply blend in, producing less than desirable results.
87. Select a small group of words that resonate with your audience. Choose your words wisely. You only have a few short seconds to capture attention and interest. You have only one shot at winning an audience. Develop your most powerful and most concise sales message.
88. Employ strong action words that involve prospects and activates their interest.
89. Capture and record attention-getting words culled from other sources such as radio ads, billboards, magazines, etc. Jot them down and later transfer these to a file folder or computer file that you can use as a reference the next time you need to come up with a great headline.
Headline Creation Techniques
90. Speak the voice of your prospect. Say what a genuine prospect might actually be thinking or feeling and you’ll create instant interest as readers relate to your thoughts. This kind of headline acknowledges and empathizes with the prospect, by expressing a valid concern, in the prospect’s own voice.
91. Capture and “frame” a shortened segment of the actual words of appreciation of a satisfied customer. Solid third-party endorsement headlines lend credibility to any presentation. Since buyers were once prospects themselves, the views of other people in similar situations often carry extra weight with first-time buyers.
92. Promote your unique selling advantage right up front in your headline. Make sure it positions your company, product, or service in a class by itself… far apart from all competitors.
93. Write your headline as though you’re creating a billboard. You probably have only 2 or 3 seconds to get your main selling point across. Work at distilling your most powerful and provocative sales argument down to something which can be quickly and easily understood. Give the skimming reader the opportunity to get your essential message in one quick take. Jolt them a little, to get them to pay attention. Think of your headline as a visual siren, one that zaps attention briefly.
94. Review your collection of customer testimonials. Keep an eye out for any key statement that could be used in whole or in part, as a unique headline. Look for those comments that ideally reflect what you want other prospects to know about your product or service. What is it your prospect wants? Pick out a few good testimonials and choose the best 3 to 12 word description that provides the essence of a great, attention-grabbing opening line.
95. Play around with various headline possibilities to evolve the most effective one. Often the best headlines are unexpected and therefore have stop-ability, built-in. An unexpected headline presented with visual impact while instantly delivering a clear, important benefit or payoff, is a surefire winner.
96. Deliver a straightforward claim about how the prospect will gain by having or using your product or service. Here’s an example: “Cleaner dishes without the effort”. Now take that declaration and embellish it for added impact. “Cleaner dishes automatically in 58% less time — guaranteed or your money back!”
97. Tell a story. Infuse your message with your own personal twist. Many best-selling books are emotional stories about people. Capitalize on this widespread interest by hooking prospects with an intriguing lead-in. Storytelling headlines attract attention due to their human interest qualities.
98. Offer a reward in your headline — a reward for reading the rest of your message. Promise a payoff and then deliver on your promise. “Here’s 10 ways to save hundreds of dollars on your taxes”.
99. Think like a journalist. Answer the who, what, why, where, when and how. Combine two or more of the most interesting, or most relevant answers into one short statement. To see how this is done, simply review your daily newspaper and take note of the headlines that capture your attention.
100. Write plenty of different possibilities before settling on one. The more you write, the better your chances of creating a winning headline.
101. Dream big dreams. Invent the perfect solution to your prospect’s problem, as though you possess magical powers. Identify the “dream” solution— that one big benefit any prospect would ideally want to gain from your product or service. Present that perfect solution in your headline and… deliver on the promise. Be sure to adjust the product, or the headline copy to achieve compatibility.
102. Combine “how to” with your biggest benefit. The headline that begins with “how to” offers a practical solution and delivers a specific “want”. “How to” is a certain headline winner in many situations and it’s an easy formula to use. Simply insert your benefit after the words “how to”.
103. Define your greatest strength or advantage in a single word or phrase. Then take a pencil and a pad of paper and sketch out how that single advantage might look in visual form. Nothing fancy here, just a quick, rough sketch. Then, describe the scene you’ve just created in the most alluring, prospect-centered language and shape those words into a headline with appeal.
104. Uncover a distinction— pinpoint a specific advantage or accomplishment that would impress your prospect. Then play around with a few different ways to communicate this fact. Do it right and you’ll momentarily mesmerize your audience.
105. Consider using lead-ins to headlines. Lead-ins are short opening statements that help set up or introduce a main headline. Lead-ins are most often used in large display ads and sales letters. Another use for lead-ins is to identify the target audience.
106. Compliment your main headline with a sub-heading. Sub-headings can be one or two lines of sales copy that offer a payoff, or additional support to the main headline. Sub-headings add believability and help reinforce your major message.
107. Combine the power of a lead-in, main headline and sub-heading to present a more complete message including multiple benefits and a compelling offer. The various components must work together to deliver the gist of your message quickly.
108. Edit your headline so it passes the “quick-view” test. Pare it down as much as possible. Typically, prospects scan headlines in just a few seconds and then move on to something else unless the headline has caught their interest or piqued their curiosity. The faster you can deliver something of interest to your audience, the better.
109. Handle a long headline in one of two ways: 1) break it up into a major headline and sub-heading or lead-in, or… 2) emphasize one or more key words in extra large type so those big, bold words deliver a sufficiently strong message on their own. For option #2, seek out the services of a skilled graphic designer.
110. Tweak your headline until it’s a real stopper for those you hope to reach. In all forms of communication, the first thing a prospect sees, reads, or hears, has a significant effect on the overall results of the entire message. First impressions are crucial in gaining an attentive, interested audience.
Headline Success Secrets
111. Capitalize on the use of readily available tools to help with headline creation. Your handy reference section might include a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, books of famous quotations, trivia games and books, as well as the Guinness Book Of World Records. These resources provide valuable kindling to help you evolve an eyestopping headline.
112. Write a headline that would make you sit up and take notice. Ask yourself, “If I were the prospect, would this heading appeal to me and grab my interest?”
113. Address your audience directly, in a style most appropriate to the subject matter. Fine collectibles suggest a style of elegance and grace, while an appeal to business people would likely be more successful with a straightforward, factual presentation with an emphasis on the return on investment.
114. Communicate with simplicity. Make the main benefit more easily and automatically transferable to the prospect’s own experience.
115. Find a unique angle. Distinguish your product, message or promotion from others. Establish a unique identity— it’s what separates your offer from all the other possibilities available.
116. Select your opening words with great care. The first few words of your headline are very important. Capture attention and interest as quickly as possible. Compose an evocative handful of words that touch a nerve.
117. Test headlines whenever the opportunity arises. Sometimes a slight adjustment, or a completely different approach altogether, can have a dramatic effect on the results.
118. Tuck away your chosen headline for at least 24 hours, and longer whenever possible. Go back and look at your headline with fresh eyes and a less-biased opinion. If your headline still retains a powerful punch, you’ve probably developed a winner.
119. Make it more attractive to your prospect to stop and discover your complete message, rather than to move on to something else.
120. Lure prospects with just enough information to get them interested. Whet their appetites. Hook them first with a tempting promise before offering up the rest of your sales message.
121. Use specifics to help arrest attention and magnetically draw prospects in. Specifics add realism and enhance credibility. Specific amounts, time periods and the actual number of ways revealed to gain a particular benefit, help make your headline more believable and more appealing.
122. Project credibility and believability. Make certain that any claim is not only 100% true, but that it also appears to be true in the eyes of your prospect.
123. Use your headline to persuade prospects to read the rest of your ad by suggesting that the copy beyond the headline contains useful and valuable information. Make sure you follow through on this or any other promise.
124. Write all headlines in the present tense to more easily get the prospect to put himself in the picture. By placing your benefit promise in the present tense, it seems much more real and attainable to the prospect.
125. Add a guarantee to your benefit claim to give it even more validity. Strong guarantees add power to any sales presentation. They reassure prospects with enhanced perceived quality by virtue of your own confidence in your product as expressed through your guarantee.
126. Provide the “reasons why” when offering an exceptional deal. Give prospects an accurate explanation for special discounts offered in your headline. Sharing the real reason adds believability and makes any outstanding offer appear much more legitimate.
127. Convince the prospect quickly, that you have something of vital interest to him or her. You need to convey a feeling that this information is of crucial importance to your prospect and that it’s worth acting on immediately in order to get the full benefit for himself or herself.
Design Concepts That Can Dramatically Effect Results
128. Design a headline that visually leaps off the page. Make your headline big and bold so it’s obvious to everyone. Create a jarring contrast. Present your headline as a few dominant words that are optically interruptive— like a visual speed-bump that’s impossible to miss.
129. Enhance headlines with photographs or cartoons that add visual spice while complimenting and supporting the text. Combine your headline with a dramatic visual to make your declaration of a benefit easier for prospects to visualize.
130. Review your headline from a designers perspective. Even the strongest-worded headline may be overlooked if it isn’t inviting to the eye.
131. Make your headline the most visually dominating text component. The look or design of a headline can often be the most arresting element. Think of your headline as a big, bold introduction that clearly and succinctly delivers an interesting and inviting statement.
132. Utilize your allotted space effectively. For small space ads, devote a large percentage to creating a dominant headline. Make your attention-getting headline a big part of your display ad or marketing document. You want to make it obvious and impossible to disregard.
133. Place your headline inside a call-out or balloon attached to a graphic. It’s a visual stopper that naturally draws the eye and has a good chance of attracting plenty of interest.
134. Look for additional opportunities to use headlines. On visual pieces such as display ads and brochures, there’s often additional space available for secondary headlines. Captions and call-outs naturally attract attention and therefore, are ideal places to insert headline copy. Additional headlines can also be used to provide visual relief by breaking up longer sections of copy.
135. Place your headline where your prospect cannot miss it. The best place for any headline is the very first area your prospects eyes land when turning a page or opening the mail. Keep your headline at “eye” level.
136. Position your headline apart from others visually. Your message and the image it projects, should be completely different from all your direct and indirect competitors. View what others are doing and then create an original concept and presentation. Sometimes an uncultivated, unpolished look may be favorable. This may be your best option when your competitors have taken a slick, professional approach.
137. Avoid decorative typefaces that make reading difficult. The best typefaces or fonts are clear and easy to read. A fancy typeface only draws attention to itself and away from your message. Select one that fits the style and substance of your communication — just make sure it’s clearly readable.
138. Use enough white space to effectively “frame” your headline so it stands out among the various elements on the page, subtly conveying a degree of importance. Consider using other framing devices like quotation marks and text boxes that suggest a certain significance to the key words contained within.
139. Employ graphic enhancements such as underlining, bold text, and uppercase lettering. Dramatizing specific words and phrases causes readers to give these words special attention and importance. An option like reverse type (white text on a solid black background) used in conjunction with a large, bold typeface, can really make your headline stand out. The key is to use these tools sparingly. A little emphasis goes a long way.
140. Mix upper and lowercase type. A combination of the two, usually works best for headlines. Avoid using all uppercase type — it’s too difficult to read. Never vary the size of type within the main headline itself.