HEADLINES: YOUR BIGGEST HOOK FOR NEW BUSINESS

HEADLINES ARE LIKE BAIT ON A FISHING ROD. YOU NEED TO REEL IN CUSTOMERS WITH YOUR WORDS.

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Q. Blogs, brochures, ads, articles, websites, newsletters, emails. What do they have in common?
A. They all need punchy, catchy headlines to pull in the punters.

SPEND MORE TIME WRITING THE HEADLINE THAN THE TEXT . . .

Allegedly, five times as many people read the headline as the body of the copy. The headline is like the frontline. It needs to be bold and targeted. It’s the most important weapon in your armoury. So, I would advise you to spend more time on the headline than the actual text. Controversial, I know.

ANY NEW NEWS?

There’s a reason why news is called news. Essentially it’s new information. Something that hasn’t been heard about before. Or a new angle, or twist on an existing story. If your product or service is not new, then you need to seek out a compelling news ‘hook’ to make it intriguing. This will make you stand out from your competitors. Basically, you need to start thinking like a journalist.

SHORT, SUCCINCT, SNAPPY, SHARP . . .

Not much to say here, as my sub-heading has done it all. Taglines need to be small, but perfectly formed. The best headlines are six words long. The basic rule is: the shorter the better. As long as it says everything it needs to. READ MORE is neither intriguing or informative.

MAKE IT PERSONAL . . .

None of us likes mass marketing. A newsletter that’s not personally addressed to us is the equivalent of a cold call (in my opinion). Address your customers directly – even in the headline. Even more so in the headline! They will only read it if they think it’s of relevance to them. And remember: you must sell the problem you solve, not the product itself.

MAKE IT FUN . . .

Unless you sell funerals, it’s ok to make your comms or marketing material fun and light-hearted. So have some fun playing with words. Puns can be a bit pun-ishing, I find. Unless they’re done well, or totally – and overtly - tongue-in-cheek. But we all want to read things that make us feel cheery, not dreary. The same goes for headlines. If you can make someone smile or feel enthused, a sale is more likely to happen.

So remember: headlines are the difference between someone opening (let’s say) a blog and reading it – and in doing so driving traffic to your website - or it being lost in cyber space. Obviously I am hoping for the former with this particular one.

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