The Three Cs of Writing an Excellent all Purpose HeadlineBy: Steven Boaze
Since the headline is the first contact your readers have with your message, it must reach out to them. Promise them a benefit. Tell them how they will be better off if they read the rest of the ad. Use action verbs. Save ten dollars is a stronger heading than Savings of ten dollars because of the verb.
Headlines can be classified into the following five basic types; effective headlines frequently combine two or more of these kinds.
This form tells the reader something he or she did not know before. Using the word news does not make it a news headline. "Now - a copy machine that copies in color" is an example of this type headline.
Advice and Promise Headline
Here you are promising something if the reader follows the advice in your ad. "Switch to Amoco premium, no-lead gasoline, and your car will stop pinging."
This headline limits the audience to a specific group. For example: "To all gray-haired men over forty." Caution! Be absolutely sure you do not eliminate potential customers with this type of headline.
The intent here is to arouse the reader's interest enough to make him or her read the ad. The danger is that this headline often appears "cute" or "clever" and fails in its mission. An example: "Do you have trouble going to sleep at night?"
Command or Demand Headline
Watch out for this one as most people resist pushiness, especially in advertising. "Do it now!" or "Buy this today!" This headline generally can be improved by changing to less obtrusive wording such as: "Call for your key to success!"
One common misconception about headlines is that they must be short and easy to understand. This is not always true. Here is a headline that was used extensively in print ads by Ogilvy and Mather for one of their clients: At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.
There are three primary reasons for using illustrations in an advertisement.
If you follow the three principles of good copy, your ads will be effective:
You Discovery SafetyNotice the overused word free is not on the list.
REMEMBER THAT WHEN YOUR MESSAGE IS PRINTED IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS INSTEAD OF UPPER- AND LOWERCASE LETTERS, IT IS FAR MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE READER TO FOLLOW AND REMAIN INTERESTED. EVEN IN HEADLINES ALL CAPITAL LETTERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED.
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