“BOY EATS HIS OWN HEAD!” was the big bold headline in the news rag at the checkout line in the grocery store that grabbed my attention enough to force me to pick up the paper and read more!
Headlines are there for one purpose: stop the reader in his tracks and turn his attention to the message that follows.
So many marketers say they can’t come up with a good headline. Do you know why? Most copywriters over-think and over-complicate the task.
The next time you’re passing by a newsstand (like those downtown on a busy street corner or in an airport) or you’re in a bookstore (like B & N) or maybe even the grocery store check-out line, take a minute and purchase a copy of the National Equirer. You’re probably not too interested in their “gossip” style of writing, but you should be interested in their copy headlines.
Study them and learn about marketing. Those people know how to sell their publication and it’s often an impulse buy after the prospect scans those outrageous headlines.
Who wouldn’t be stopped in their tracks and want to find out more when they saw the headline: “BOY EATS HIS OWN HEAD!”? (That one was from years ago and is still my all-time favorite!)
There is an oft-quoted statement in marketing that goes something like this: “You only have seven seconds to command the viewer’s attention – and then he’s gone.” I’m not sure where the idea came from, and I don’t know who deserves credit for it, but it’s point is pretty clear. Viewers, readers, browsers, skimmers, and surfers have a very short attention span online. If you can’t grab their attention and get them to read more of your offer (or article, or blog post) they will click away in a heartbeat, most likely never to stop by your site again!
Here’s a headline from the 1980’s: “PLOT TO GRAB ELVIS $MILLIONS – Religious Cult Brainwashing His Daughter”
Here’s one from a recent issue: “IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT TAYLOR SWIFT?! – The startling secret TAYLOR doesn’t want YOU to know!”
You might even want to start a swipe file of your favorite headlines … the ones that forced you to read more of the accompanying article. I did that years ago and have built up a list of well over 500 great proven headlines. I will not copy these headlines, but I will adapt and modify them to be appropriate for my own purposes.
Don’t try to tell me that such outlandish or sensational headlines have no place in your Internet marketing. I’m not advocating that you use them word for word, or that you lie, or that you disparage another person in any way. I’m suggesting, of course, that you adapt them to your own marketing purposes.
Sometimes you’ve got to overcome the commonplace and boring – stand out – draw attention – be a little “over the top.” Headlines are one of those times!
Yes, it’s almost embarrassing purchasing the Enquirer (at least for me) but you’ll thank me later.
Alternate opinions are welcomed.
To your online business success!