Five Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Headlines

It’s no secret that effective headlines are a crucial part of successful marketing. The big question is, how do you create effective headlines that command attention? Make sure your copy gets read by steering clear of these common pitfalls.

Imagine you’ve written a great article, brochure or webpage but most people don’t read beyond the headline – yikes! Make sure your copy gets read by steering clear of some common pitfalls.

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Headlines:

  1. Making it about you or your business. SOLUTION: It needs to be about your clients and the results they will get.

  2. Making it boring. SOLUTION: You want people to be curious so they will keep reading.

  3. Making it too general. SOLUTION: Be as specific as possible so you attract the right audience.

  4. Making it about too many concepts. SOLUTION: if you try to cover too much, the message becomes diluted and un-motivating.

  5. Making it too wordy. SOLUTION: Get rid of words that are not powerful and relevant.

Writing headlines doesn’t have to be hard; in fact it can be fun! Here are some tried and true formulas for creating effective headlines:

  • How to…
  • Who Else Wants…
  • Secrets of…
  • X Number of Steps to/Keys to/Secrets of…
  • Ask a question

Writing effective headlines is a skill that can be learned. And like many skills; the more you do it, the easier it gets. When you’re brainstorming possible headlines, try to come up with at least ten.

For example, here are the headline ideas I came up with for this article that I did not choose:

  • Headline Secrets Revealed!
  • Headline Fever
  • Power Up Your Headlines
  • Turbo Charge Your Headlines
  • Confused About How to Write Headlines?
  • There’s No Substitute for Great Headlines
  • Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes with Your Headlines
  • Don’t Gamble With Your Headlines!
  • Secrets to Great Headlines
  • Are Your Headlines Duds?

I usually ask a few people for their opinion on which headline they like the best. I consider the feedback and then choose the headline that I believe will be the most effective. I picked the headline for this article because I felt that it provoked the most curiosity.

Be sure to save all of the headlines you brainstorm in one place so the next time you need to write one, you have loads of ideas to get you started. Headlines aren’t only important for articles; they can make a big difference in other areas of your marketing as well.

Where to Use Effective Headlines:

  • Websites
  • Articles
  • Brochures
  • Postcards
  • E-mail Subject Lines

Simply stated, headlines can mean the difference between attracting new clients, or not. Get started now by taking a fresh look at your existing headlines to make sure they are as powerful as possible.

And use this information the next time you write a headline to make sure your copy gets read. Happy headlining!

Copyright Stephanie Ward, 2007

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