I have been playing catch up the past 10 days; the hip surgery put me on the disabled list for 10 days and I couldn’t get the docs to let me travel, but eventually I just had to get out to the real world and touch and feel what was going on in the trenches.
I was happy to see that many of the programs we planned in June were being adhered to as were the schedules.
Unfortunately, the execution on the communication was mediocre at best. Headlines were filled with the names of the center or the name of the program or even just the words, “New Men’s League Starting On September 5th at 630pm.”
Really? That’s about as exciting as watching water boil.
So I decided to devote just a short blog on how to write a headline which is the most important element of your communication. As I have said in the past, “You may have the greatest program in the world, but if you cannot get people to read, listen or watch what you have to sell; its game over!!
Your headline is the first — and perhaps only — impression you make on a prospective reader.
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. The better your headline, the better your odds of beating the averages and getting what you’ve written read by a larger percentage of people.
Tip #1: Make sure there is a clear and discernible benefit in your headline. Here’s an example, “How to Learn to Bowl Better in Just 20 Minutes a Week.” If your audience is league bowlers, the headline gets very specific about a benefit that the customer will get by reading the body copy.
Or “The Secret To Improving Your Bowling Average Revealed.” Here’s one that may even be better; “How I Learned the Secret of Improving My Average by 20 Pins in Just 20 Minutes a Week.” It’s a little longer than I would like, but it will work well with a picture of the person and then I would write the copy in the voice of the 1st person
Tip # 2: Stop being cute. Save that for your kids or grand kids. You might think that the previous headline sounds too “salesy”. Well it is. It is the same formula that Fortune 500 copy writers, world class bloggers and digital marketers use simply because it works. It’s all about the benefits and the more of them you can show in your body copy.
Tip # 3: Even though my examples above are more than 6 or 7 words, (there is one that is 7 words) ideally, I try to keep my headlines to no more than seven (7) words.
There is a whole art and science to copy writing and there is a reason that the very successful people who write long copy ads for publications like The National Enquirer both print and digital get paid enormous 5 figure fees…simply because their story works.
And yours should too.