Five Tips for Writing Eyeball-Grabbing Headlines
If you made it this far, the headline for this story has caught your attention. Hot headlines are a hit with readers because they stick out, grab attention and urge them to read the rest of the story.
We're all experiencing information overload and have made it a habit to skim pages. According to David Ogilvy, a successful advertising writer, "Five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy." Sounds like we need to treat those headlines like trying to get our foot in the door.
It doesn't matter if you're writing a sales letter, Web page content, email, or an article. Pulling together a handful of powerful words and putting them ahead of the content is more likely to grab eyeballs than just going right into the story, letter, or content.
Despite our success with newsletters, we continue to learn how to add more punch when writing headlines. Here are the tips we have learned and try to apply:
Try summarizing the content in 10 words or less and make it your benchmark. Play with it until you come up with something snappy without being unbelievable. Another way to go about it is to treat headlines like a billboard. Speeding cars make it easy to overlook the billboard's message, so it better be short and simple.
Another option is to have your colleagues review several headlines and pick which works better.
Work smarter not harder when writing headlines and make a whizbang first impression. Expend as much energy in the headline as you do writing the rest of the content. If that doesn't happen, then few will read beyond the headline. Here are some typical words to help you get rolling:
Advice... Facts... Last Minute... Save... Amazing... Finally... Secrets... Announcing... Free... Luxury... Security... At Last... Growth... New... Show Me... Bargains... Hate... Obsession... Breakthrough... Here... Only... Share... How Much... Protect... The Truth Of... Discover... How To... Rewards... Yes... Do You... How Would... Sale... You... # Tips... # Ways... Don't Buy... Don't Spend...
There is no rule that says headlines have to be dull, flat, or full of technical jargon to ensure professionalism. Go have a ball writing headlines.
Meryl K. Evans is the Content Maven behind meryl's notes, eNewsletter Journal, and The Remediator Security Digest. She is also a PC Today columnist and a tour guide at InformIT. She is geared to tackle your editing, writing, content, and process needs. The native Texan resides in Plano, Texas, a heartbeat north of Dallas, and doesn't wear a 10-gallon hat or cowboy boots.
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