Today I saw a public bus with a big
advertisement along the side. The headline read, "Now is the
Time..." and the rest of the letters were too small to read.
Something about AIDS testing, or funding for research, or awareness,
The point is, whoever designed the
ad wasted the headline space with a cliché a propos of nothing.
Why in the world would the words "Now is the Time" make me stop
thinking my own comfortable thoughts and pay attention to a
Need other examples? Check
out your local yellow pages. The ads there are just large
yellow business cards. The headline, typically, is the name of
the business. Whoopee, Archie and Edith's Flower Shop, think
I'll call them!
Looking for good headlines.
Next time you're in the supermarket checkout line, read the
headlines of the tabloids. They have the same stories about J.
Lo and Ben, aliens and Elvis, sex and miracle vinegar diets every
single week, yet they manage to get millions of people to subscribe,
and millions more to sneak a peak at the news stand or checkout
line. How? Great headlines.
It's not just a matter of being
outrageous or full of hype. Some of the best headlines arrest
the attention of the reader by naming a particular worry or pain:
"Is your child struggling in school?" "Has your IRA gone down in
value by 30% or more in the past year?" "Are you sick of cold
Others promise a big benefit: "How
to Win Friends and Influence People." "Secrets of Younger-Looking
Others go for the curiosity factor:
"The 7 Costliest Mistakes of First-Time Homebuyers." "Is Your Dog
Psychic?" "Why Headlice Prefer Girls, and What to Do About It."
Headlines aren't about shouting
louder or being more obnoxious. They're a respectful way to
get the attention of the people whose attention you want, while
letting everyone else filter out your message and get on with their
What's the headline on your next
ad? What's the first sentence of your elevator pitch? Are your
headlines about you, or your customers? Do they bog down in
process, or do they promise benefit?
Let it shine!