“If you haven’t done some selling in your headline, you have wasted 80 percent of your client’s money.”
−David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man
Writing a compelling headline isn’t as easy as it looks. That’s why it’s good to consider all the possibilities.
I thought of headline types after seeing a recent post at copyblogger. Actually, headline types haven’t changed much, if any, over the years. Following are eight variations that can work well for both B2B and B2C copy.
1. Direct. Direct headlines make a straightforward statement to readers. (Save up to 70% on generators.)
2. Indirect. Indirect headlines are designed to pique the curiosity of readers, providing the payoff in the body copy. (Issaquah is now home to 42,469 of your favorite authors.)
3. News. News headlines can be used when you have news or a special announcement. (Introducing the first watch you can wear with a wet suit and tie.)
4. How to. How to is the workhorse of headlines, promising useful information. When you’re drawing a blank, try a how-to headline. (How to get more mileage out of yellow pages advertising.)
5. Question. Question headlines are effective when your audience wants to know the answer. Craft a smart question and you’ll have them eating out of your hand. (What does the pilot strike mean for your travel plans?)
6. Command. Command headlines tell the audience what to do. (Protect your company’s image.)
7. Reason why. Reason-why headlines work well when you plan to present copy in a list format. In addition to “reason why,” this headline type can include approaches such as “5 ways,” “5 tips,” and “5 steps.” (5 good reasons to rethink outsourcing.)
8. Testimonial. Testimonial headlines use the words of others to entice readers. (“The new XYZ auxiliary system cut our downtime from 10% to less than 1%.”)