As a copywriter, I’m incredibly lucky that I rarely get writer’s block. But when I do, it always strikes when I’m preparing a headline. And in a world where readers have access to so much content, the headline is undoubtedly the most important sentence of any communication. It’s the calling card, the bit that should cry out ‘read me!’ to anyone who stumbles across it.
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” David Ogilvy (AKA ‘the father of advertising’)
Despite many fellow bloggers claims to the contrary, I don’t believe that there is a perfect formula for writing a headline. I’ve read various pieces of advice, ranging from the sensible (“It should be 65 characters or less“: makes sense, so that it doesn’t get cut off in search results) to the downright peculiar (“It should be 6 words. No more, no less“: err, why??). In fact, the most repeated tip to headline-writing success is to produce a numbered list (“7 tips to guarantee results” or “5 ways to make your money work“). Whilst I’m definitely a fan of a numbered list, they are becoming increasingly common, and isn’t it boring when everything is done in the same way? Are there any other tricks you can deploy to get your headline noticed? Continue reading