How To Write Great Headlines: Do Your Headlines Go Ka-Ching? (Part One)

One of the most important skills for any creative entrepreneur and business owner to possess is the ability to communicate a message through clear and effective copy. On the other side of the coin, poor copywriting has the potential to drive away business and potential clients, customers and partners.

To empower publishers and help them master the craft of writing headlines, Shweiki Media has partnered with author and seasoned copywriter Debra Jason of The Write Direction to present a webinar series on 12 pointers for creating great headlines that grab attention.

“What sells—what motivates people to take action—are words.” Joe Vitale

One cannot have marketing materials, such as direct mail messaging, video sales letter or a website, without any words. When writing copy, marketers have only one to three seconds to catch a prospect’s attention online, and approximately five seconds if sending out a direct-mail piece. Therefore, the goal should be to catch the prospects’ attention long enough for him or her to decide to continue reading all of the content.

Here, Jason covers the first six of twelve tips to help publishers create rock-solid headlines. The material discussed is taken from an excerpt from Chapter 18 of Jason’s book, “Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget.”

The First 6 Pointers for Creating Great Headlines:

1. Ask A Question: The first pointer is to ask a question. For example, one headline reads “With 1 in 2 people getting osteoarthritis in their lifetime, can you afford to ignore your joints?” Or another example of a classic headline found in the magazine, Psychology Today, reads “Do you close the bathroom door even when you are the only one home?” So, what is one question that comes to mind for you? What kind of question can you use for a headline?

2. Give News: The second tip is to give good news by using words such as, “introducing,” “announcing,” “now available,” or “new.” Examples include: “Announcing 10 remarkable ways o stay in shape without exercising daily,” or “Now available, a new report reveals 3 ways to find lasting love after you have kissed your ex goodbye.”

3. Address Prospect’s Concern: The third pointer Jason gives is to address the prospect’s concern. This type of headline helps push a prospect’s buttons so that they are reading one’s content and thinking, “Yes, I need this. I want this. I have to have this.” In 2008 and 2009, people had real concerns about their real estate, and many headlines addressed those concerns. For example, one headline said, “Facing foreclosure? Here are 3 questions to ask your lender before they take your home away from you.” Another headline was “Need more money now? Here are 10 legitimate ways to make a buck.”

4. Promise Something Wonderful, But Do Not Lie: The next tip is that a good headline promises something wonderful to people without lying to them. Lying is an easy way to lose customers, and bad news travels fast. Also, in this day and age, being honest is a great way to build top of mind in consumers. It builds trust and people respect you more when you are genuine. Marketing strategist Jim Connely put it this way: “Using sensational headlines to get people to open emails or read content is a super fast way to lose the trust and respect of your marketplace.”

5. Be Specific: The fifth pointer in creating amazing headlines is that one should be specific. Using specifics is a great way to get someone’s attention. This well-known Rolls-Royce headline from David Ogilvy says “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

6. Give A Command: The sixth pointer Jason emphasizes is to give the reader a command by telling him or her to do something. For example, one headline says, “Go ahead, throw away this free offer.”

As creative entrepreneurs and business owners, one of the most important tools you have in offering programs and services is the copy used to communicate messages.

What Jason covered today were the first six tips for creating rock-solid headlines that help grab people’s attention. In the next webinar that follows, Jason will conclude with the final six pointers to help accelerate your headline writing skills.

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Debra Jason

A recipient of the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association's (RMDMA) "Creative Person of the Year Award," Debra Jason started The Write Direction in 1989. Past President of the RMDMA, she is a seasoned direct response copywriter with more than 25 years of experience in the field of direct marketing. Since then she has personally written thousands upon thousands of words for hundreds of clients around the country (and some overseas).

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