If you are trying to market a website or a product on the internet, it
is essential to master the art of headline writing. In the first part
of a two-part article we look at some of the basic rules of good
Whether you are writing articles, ads or press releases, if you fail to capture the reader's attention with the headline, all your efforts will have been in vain.According to David Olgilvy, author of Confessions of an Advertising Man, 'On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that, unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.'So, I've developed a simple plan for optimal headline success:1. Don't focus on brainstorming a single headline. Write 20 to 30 different headlines before choosing the one you'll finally use.2. Write your headlines one day then put them away and come back the next day. You'll be amazed at how really corny some of your 'best' headlines were.3. Keep asking yourself if the headline could be better. Does it reach my target audience? More importantly, does it speak to my target audience?Research differs but mostly agrees that more than 50% of buying decisions are made based on headlines alone. So, needless to say, writing a good headline is half the battle.Using the technique of benefits and desires, you can probably figure out that your headline should convey the one benefit, or desire, that speaks directly to your target audience.Here are a few headlines with appeals based on pleasure:- The Secret to Making People Like You- How I sold $200 Million Worth of Products- Negotiate and Win Every Time- Play Piano in Seven Days or Your Money BackYou can also appeal to human desire through questions:- Do You Make These Commonly Overlooked Mistakes When Speaking?- Do You Have These Symptoms of Burn Out?- Did You Know The Way You Dress Could Be Cutting Your Salary?We'll look at the steps to creating good headlines by going through an example.As you're walking through the sample, keep in mind the following three principles:1. Your headline will be read more than anything else. It doesn't matter how stimulating you think your ad copy is. Spend 80% of your time on the headline.2. Keep your headlines short and snappy. The most memorable headlines get right to the point. You don't have the space to waste on a long headline. And, most advertising venues won't allow more than 30 characters.3. Try to make your headline a benefit.In part 2 of this article, we will look at a practical example to help you develop your headline writing.