In regular feature articles, headlines usually make the difference between which stories get read and which ones get ignored. The same holds true for print advertising. Use a good headline and your ad gets read; make a bad one and the whole pitch gets passed over.
Readers scan headlines before diving into the actual piece. You can put all the work you want in the copy, but if the headline doesn’t generate any interest, no one will be reading. Below are some ideas for coming up with good headlines. When coming up with your headline, always try a few of these different approaches, testing to see which one works best.
- Make a direct offer. State your guarantee or offer outright in your headline. This works best when you have a special promotion going. Example: “30% Off All Android Tablets”
- Make a catchy statement. The most common headline used in print ads, this one has you making a direct statement that positions your product in some way. They can vary in a huge way — creative, witty, catchy and more. Example: “Their Prices Are Good — Ours Are Better”
- Use a how-to structure. Your copy need not read like an instructional, but you can present your headline as a how-to title. It tells the reader you’re about to present something that can address their problems. Example: “How To Get Softer, Smoother, Silkier Hair In One Week”
- Use a list structure. Like “how-to” titles, list-type titles also grab attention. They come across as simple and straightforward, making them attractive to readers. Example: “10 Reasons Why You Should Use An Android Tablet”
- Use a news-style headline: New products or old products with new features usually do well when paired with news-type headlines. Example: “Finally, The Shampoo Dry Hair Has Been Thirsting For”
- Ask a question. Two formats are used here: either a straight-up question or a question-and-answer combination. Example: “Dry Hair? Do Something About It”
- State a benefit. Benefits, rather than features, sell products. That’s why copywriters are always instructed to put benefits in areas where they will gain the most attention. And what better place will they draw more eyeballs than the headline? Example: “Softer, Smoother, Silkier Hair In One Week”
- Use customer testimonials. If you have some attractive customer testimonials, you can use a quote from it from your headline. Make sure to pick one that’s catchy, though — no point in pulling out a boring phrase out of the pile. Example: “Getting An Xbox 360 Saved My Marriage”