Posts Tagged ‘headlines’

Top secret short-cuts for headline inspiration


OK, so headlines are critical to your marketing communication.  Whether that’s advertising, web content, brochures, direct mail … the list goes on.  But what happens when you sit down to write, and draw a blank?

The thing is, some days top headlines fairly jump onto your screen.  Then there are those other times.  A bit of inspiration goes a long way toward writing power headlines.

News sites

Online news is a highly competitive space.  Writers need to engage visitors within seconds.  Most news sites feature a timeline where you’ll find catchy headlines and strong breakout text.

Newsmakers write this copy to grab attention and generate story click through.  And they’re darn good at it.  Great places to get some headline inspiration of your own include:

Social media

Check sites like Digg, Alltop and even Twitter for trending stories … and sharp headlines.  These sites are rich pickings for content writers.  Not only because they’re great for headline inspiration.  Likes, shares and voting put them on the pulse of what’s popular too.

Your inbox

Think about it.  Some clever copywriter created those subject lines.  Something has to make readers open that e-marketing.  Writing email headlines is art in itself.  Compelling, benefit driven … AND character limited.  Talk about short and sweet!  Here’s a few samples:

  • Is your video ready for prime time?
  • Aussie backyard breaks from $99
  • A double whammy for maximum website exposure

Glossy mags

Sometimes factual, other times fantastic … it’s headlines that make magazines sell.  In the cut-throat world of advertising by circulation, writers can’t afford to get it wrong.  The great thing about magazines is their target audience orientation.  Which means they’re not only a good place to find writing inspiration.  The new ideas you come up with are market tested, like these:

100 perfect outfits that are already in your wardrobe ”
(Glamour)

Blogging against the machine ”
(net)

More energy instantly!  Your secret source ”
(Men’s Health)

The ideas box

Mostly, there’s more junk than mail in my letterbox.  But that’s not always a bad thing.  Sometimes there’s a kooky or really cool flyer that gets my attention.  Other times it’s a newspaper insert, or maybe and ad.

I save the best ones.  They’re a great resource when it comes to coming up with headline ideas.  Here’s a sample:

Hot, steamy and ready to be picked up.  You guessed it, pizza!

3 take away tips

  1. Getting in the right headspace for writing headlines needs some inspiration.
  2. Don’t discount news services.  They’ve been writing winning headlines for years.
  3. For short and punchy headline inspiration, try checking your inbox.

5 fab formulas for headlines that work

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Headlines with stopping power flag down readers with a simple, benefit driven message.  Writing headlines isn’t about reducing your business to a one liner.  Great headlines reach out to capture audience interest.  For maximum effect, copywriters use words and ideas proven to work.

Make it sound easy

We all love a short cut.  If there’s a way to get there that costs less or happens sooner, who won’t be in that?  Here’s an example where the copywriter worked in a number to draw readers right into the middle of the headline:

Learn how to read a 180 page book in just ten minutes

And how easy does this sound?  Sign me up!

Prepare a fully blown marketing plan in a tenth of the time

Share an experience

There’s a reason social media is huge.  People love sharing and, as it turns out, they aren’t too shy about doing that with the whole world!  In the right context, a shared experience can really personalise your headline, like this one:

Most women don’t feel relaxed about facial hair

Here, the copywriter has left the headline open to be resolved in the subhead or opening body content:

You’ve probably thought about growing your business

Ask a question

Questions and challenges fall into similar territory.  Some of the best power headlines are questions.  But writers always treat this territory with caution.  Ask anything to which the reader can answer No and your communication dies there and then.  Here’s a couple of well written examples:

How to you fare in this kitchen hygiene test?

Which one of these advertising mistakes do you make?

Solve a problem

I know, I know … it’s marketing 101.  But so many businesses look past the customer need and write ‘all about me’ headlines.  Customer is king (or queen).  All your copywriting should reflect how your product or service fulfils customer needs.

These copywriters have tapped the target market psyche beautifully:

Great news for PMS sufferers

How to double your power to learn

Provide reassurance

Last … but not least, reassurance is a powerful motivator.  Almost every buying decision is emotive.  Connect with a desire to feel safe, healthy, clever, rich etc.

More beautiful than you ever imagined

Sales results guaranteed or your money back

3 take away tips

  1. Compelling headlines attract readers with powerful benefits.
  2. Some of the all time best headlines are questions.
  3. Always, always write communication that solves the readers need.

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