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Isn’t this shocking? A body without a head is a ghastly site and finds favour with no one. It is of no use as no one can identify who the owner is.

You must be wondering what has this got to do with my post on copywriting!! Well, it does as I will share with you the importance of good headlines that should go along with your copy.

A body without a head is just like a copy without a valid headline or no headline at all.

When you pick up a magazine from your neighborhood newsstand, do you first read the inside pages and then pick up the magazine? Or do you scan the headline at first glance and if it catches your attention, you then reach out for your wallet to pay?

Headlines are the anchor of a ship; once it reaches the bottom of the ocean and latches onto the ocean floor, then the ship cannot move. The vast ocean floor is your reader, the anchor is your headline and the ship is the content of your copy. If your anchor is strong enough to hook onto your reader, then the chances of the reader going through your copy increase manifold.

Studies have revealed that the average human has an attention span of eight seconds. So, eight seconds is all you have to grab your reader by his eyeballs and make him read your copy if you cannot then he will move on to greener pastures.

A great headline can make or break your copy. An awesome headline should be capable of casting a magic spell on your readers by:

  • Building a great relationship
  • Creating a need for knowledge
  • Developing a sense of urgency

But it is easier said than done. We all have heard of David Ogilvy who is lovingly referred to as ‘The Father of Advertising’. Legend has it he had once rewritten a headline 104 times before coming up with the chosen one.

There is no shortcut to creating a great headline, only long cuts. No, I am not discouraging you but you need to write hundreds of bad headlines to come up with real winners, as they say, failures are the stepping stones to success (though I am yet to count the number of stepping stones that I have conquered so far !!)

Do this little test with yourself, pick up any book you like and one that has a great headline. Now take a pencil and paper and try rewriting the headline in at least twenty different ways. At first, it might seem tedious to you but do not give up, you are most certainly to come up with a winner eventually. There are many other methods, but you can try with this one also.

A blind date

How would you like if on your first date you meet someone with sweaty palms, bad breath and yellow teeth? Does it sound shocking and straight out of a nightmare? Well, it certainly is.

Remember, you only have one chance to make an impression on your first date. Headlines are just like that. It is just like going on a blind date. You have never met your reader before; you don’t know him/her and neither do they know you. You have to hit the sweet spot on your first try. Fail, and the chances of your recovery become very slim.

Why should I waste my time on your copy?

Do you know what it means? Extensive research has revealed that people will not read your copy if it does not contain any information which is of use to them. The percentage of people who will go through your headline is much more than the percentage of people who will go through your copy. People DO NOT CARE about what you do, what your company does, why you are writing this post. They only care about themselves, about their needs, about finding solutions to their problems. It is your responsibility through your writing to give them a valid reason to care and to go through your copy.

A captivating headline does this to a great extent. If you extend your hand to them through your headline and make them feel at home with a suitable solution to their problems, then they would be more than willing to come back time and again for more help from you. This ultimately builds loyalty and trust, which results in quality returning customers.

Section 001 of the Headline Writing Act

No, an act such as this does not exist. But you need to follow some rules while writing headlines, which can be summarised as:

  • Headlines should at least contain the name of the product or service which you are trying to sell.
  • You must be clear in what you are trying to convey, though a sense of suspense and thrill will make the reader more likely to go through the rest of the copy.
  • A solution must be present in the headline. The solution must be for a common problem in the particular niche for which you are writing your copy.
  • The headline must make the reader hungry and make them come back for more.
  • Both long and short headlines sell well, provided the latter ones are captivating as well. The short ones have just got to be like Mike Tyson’s punch, small, deadly, and effective!!
  • You must give some hint as to what solution you are trying to provide to the reader for his problems and pains.
  • There is no harm in adding a sense of shock and teaser to your headline just like the trailer of a movie which will make the reader want to satisfy his curiosity by going through the rest of the copy.
  • Write your headlines after doing proper research by taking the help of free online tools.

Well, I guess that’s it for today. I have tried to present before you whatever I have learnt and will be sharing with you further as I get to learn and know more.

Today is Wednesday and we all are eyeing for the magic day of Saturday for a smashing weekend. But till then, a lot of hard work has still got to be done to make the weekend come alive.

Just before ending, I would like to add a few lines that I believe will benefit all. 

Research has revealed that most of the text content on the Internet is shared just by reading the headlines. So, what does this mean and what are its implications?

Well, it can mean two different things:

  • The headline is so good that the reader does not bother to read the rest of the stuff and only shares the same with his family and friends.
  • This can also mean something very dangerous and disturbing. While the headline can be very good, but the body copy might contain something which is not worth reading or is harmful and is getting unknowingly distributed all over the internet.
  • It is not mandatory to read every copy that you share, but then you and all of us must do our bit in the making the internet a much safer place to work and browse in. This we all can do by just going through the article once and only then sharing it.

Yes, I know that this is slightly off track from the main purpose of this post, but then I couldn’t help but share this with you for the benefit of all netizens.