Need a Good Headline? (part 2)

In this post, let’s pick up from last week with five more types of headlines, and some words or phrases you can use or adapt. If you need a headline for your company newsletter articles, website posts, white papers, sales sheets, catalogs, product descriptions, or PowerPoint presentations, just for a few examples, I hope these will be useful thought starters. It will help to review sections 1 through 6a from last week, and today we’ll start from there:

6b. The self-interest headline is always a good one. What makes this one work – or not – depends on how well you know your readers, and how well you address their needs or wants. Also critical is how well you match the benefits of your product or service to solving their problem, or getting them what they need, or want. For example: How to Write the Novel that Will Make You Rich Note that you could add a “time” element, e.g., “in just one week.” Or a “how” element, e.g., “with this amazing new system.” Or a qualifying element, e.g., “whether you’re an experienced writer, or have never written a word for publication.” Some of these thoughts could be added to the headline, or they could become subheads. Longer headlines will work, as long as they pile on appropriate benefits for your reader, addressing his or her specific needs or wants. Note, too, that headlines will be written and re-written many times to polish them just the way they should be. You won’t get it polished-perfect the first time. Try it.


Write your Self-Interest headline below: ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


6c. You could try a headline that will “flag down the appropriate reader.” You don’t care if everyone in the company, or even in the whole world reads your headline (although it should be written so they could). You do care about those who have the issue you are solving.  That’s who you will appeal to. Again, know your reader. Who are you appealing to? For example: If You’re Having Trouble With the New XYZ Software, Here’s Help!  Notice that the reader you are “flagging down” is defined up front, and that it is virtually mandatory to add the benefit, or the “promise” in your headline, to grab the reader and move him or her into reading the information that follows. Be sure to deliver on the headline promise in that copy. Try it. Write your Flag Down the Reader headline below:

____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


6d. A label headline is just that – a label, and is certainly appropriate to “label” a catalog item, or even the entire catalog. Or for the headline on an informational brochure or handout, among its many other uses. For example: 27 Ways Ajax Technologies Solves Your Technology Issues  Notice that while it is not always possible to put a benefit into a label headline (think “Things to Do at Crater Lake,” or “Jones Brothers Widgets”) it helps! Also, using numbers provides substance and credibility. Try it. Write your Label headline below:

____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


6e. Try promising quick results. It’s likely no one you write to in the business situation wants to do anything that will eat up more of his or her time. So, for example: Cut Your Writing Time in Half! Try it. Write your Quick Results headline below: ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


6f. Freestyle.