Published On: Sat, Oct 5th, 2019

How to Write Attention Grabbing, Effective Headlines

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A tag line is a permanent part of an advertising campaign, but headlines need to change frequently. This is not an onerous duty but rather an advantage.

Small businesses rarely have large advertising budgets and so can afford only relatively small print ads. The headline of each ad, and the body copy present an opportunity to highlight different aspects of the business with each ad, rather than trying to cram everything into a single ad.

Remember – an ad crammed with information with little negative (unused) space conveys to the customer that the business prices are rock bottom. If they are not, new customers responding to the ad will feel as if they have been misled, and are not likely to return for a second visit. See “Conveying and Image and Price Range in an Advertising Layout” for more on this.

Headlines and Optional Subheadings

A good headline must attract attention. It should be big and interesting enough to at least stop readers long enough to see the logo and key promise (tag line). Better still it should interest them enough to want to read the rest of the ad.

A good headline attracts attention by offering a benefit or making a promise to the reader, offering news (perhaps a sale or a new service) or summarizing a selling message that will be further explained in the copy.

If the layout format calls for a sub-heading it should explain or prove the headline claim. If the headline shouts “Save” explain in the subhead what readers are saving on. If it says “Indulge Yourself” explain how in that subheading.

When using a subheading the actual headline can be short and sweet. If the ad doesn’t use a subheading then the headline must convey the entire message and work to entice readers into reading the copy

Creating Headlines – Stylistic Choices

How to Write Attention Grabbing, Effective Headlines

Ads must be consistent in tone and style. Do not try for humor one week and advice another. Choose a style and stick to it as it will become part of the business image. Here are several styles to choose from.

Benefits. The best headlines present a benefit to the target audience, telling them what they will get out of patronizing the business. Instead of announcing a sale, announce what the customer can save. Don’t announce that a new employee is the best financial planner in town. Announce “At Last, the Advice You’ve Been Looking For.” People really don’t care what a business has – only what they will get out of it.

News. Common headline words include “Announcing, New, New and Improved, At Last, Here, Today, Now”. They are common for one reason – they are effective. Especially when reading a newspaper, people are attuned to looking for news. If a headline promises news they are more likely to be in the mood to read it. Established businesses may have trouble sustaining a campaign made up solely of news headlines, but a new business can use this to feature all of its products, services and benefits to educate and inform the public all about them.

Advice. In an ad, the business becomes an expert who can solve a problem. They key thing is – they need the business that is advertising in order to solve that problem. Headlines that tell the reader how to do something are good attention getting devices, usually involving a list. “Five Ways to Dress Up Dinner” or “Ten Good Reasons to Call Barry’s Tree Service” might just offer a reason or method that appeals to the reader and get them into the business.

Superlative Claims. Another tactic is to make a strong superlative claim about the business. People may read the rest of the ad just for the sake of argument. But that superlative claim should be stated as a benefit, not as bragging. A bank might tell its customers “We Do More For You.” Non-customers may read the ad simply because they don’t believe the claim. Prove it in the copy and they just might switch banks.

Signaling Your Audience. Call the audience by name. A nursery headline could get attention by signaling “Lilac Lovers.” A cooking teacher could signal “Cooks Who Care.” A pharmacy could signal “Attention, Cold Sufferers.” Those in the target audience signaled will almost inevitably be drawn further into the ad.

Ask a Question. Be careful of this one. Don’t ask a question that the audience can say no to, such as “Looking for a Good Apple Pie?” Avoid yes/no questions. Instead look for questions about a problem the target audience may have that you can solve, such as “Are There More Hairs on Your Pillow than on Your Brush?” Here the target audience is signaled and will keep on reading because they hope you can help.

Headlines and Copy

Don’t forget that the headline must lead into the copy of the ad. There is a purpose to every ad above and beyond simply getting the business name out there. It may be to inform people of new business services or products, or to acquaint them with a brand new business. It may be to inform them of a sale.

Whatever the purpose, the headline style should stay consistent both in style and in length from ad to ad. And they should change often, to give people a reason to keep on reading. Remember – the format, logo and tag line are permanent parts of your ad campaign. Headlines and copy are the parts that change often and keep readers (and hopefully customers) coming back for more.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News andTech Preview.

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