This is the first thing you want people to do so you can connect them to your message. Whether it’s a brochure, flyer, website, blog, article or email the first thing they see must make them curious or interested enough to pursue things further.

  • On a brochure it’s the front page that entices you to look inside.
  • On a flyer it’s either on the front to get you to unfold it or the headline at the top that makes you want to read further down
  • On an email it has to be strong enough to make you bother to open it
  • On a web page (any web page, not just the home page) it needs to tell you enough to draw you on and find out more
  • On an article or blog it’s the headline that intrigues, engages and implies that there is something interesting, useful or even entertaining in the main body of the article or post.
  • So, what makes a good headline?

    That’s hard to answer, as every subject creates its own headlines to some extent. However, there are some good practice tips that might help:

    1. It needs to be reader focused – so not ‘We do’, but ‘You can have’
    2. It needs to be long enough to be compelling and short enough to retain attention. It depends on the type of document as to what is too long – but not several lines, particularly not on a website. The sales copy experts say up to 17 words; I’d suggest aiming for less.
    3. It needs to have energy. That means active words. It should read well and not be hard to say (even reading silently can tie you in knots sometimes!); stumbling over the words reduces their effectiveness.
    4. It needs to have something in it that connects with the reader in some way. It might answer a question, it might ask a question that relates to what they are looking for, it might say something challenging or controversial, it might say something that needs explanation and intrigues the reader to find out more. It might also say something that tempts or offers the reader something they want.

    A good headline is a catalyst to the reader taking action.
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