copywriting, headline copy, writing print headlines, better print headlines

4 Steps To Better Print Headlines

Copywriting, Traditional Marketing

So you’re going to run a print advertisement.
You’ve paid for advertising space for 12 – 24 months, yet don’t want to pay a copywriter once.
This seems like false economy to me.
When it comes to the print branch of your integrated marketing strategy tree, excellent copywriting is essential. Especially when it comes to the headline. Copywriting for print is very different to writing for the web. It is a throw away piece.
You have one chance to be noticed, let alone impress, before you are compost.

If you still insist on writing advertisements yourself, I’m here to help for that too.

Inspired by David Ogilvy, here is my top 4 steps to actionable headlines:

1. The person you’re talking to should know it
Subtlety should be used…eh, subtly. Clarity is far more important.
Naming your target isn’t clever but will get better results, for example:
‘Dubliners: how to cut your tax bill in half’
‘Why kids need Parents who exercise’

2. We are all selfish. Say what the reader wants and why you matter
Knowing your audience is key.
They don’t know you. They possibly won’t even like you if they did. So what can you do for them?
They must have a problem you can solve.
Tell them the Who, What, Where, When, Why, or How of what you can do for them. Not just what you do.
Persona research should guide you through this process.

3. Leverage Your Brand, Your Partnerships, anything – everything.
80% of people only read the headline.
That means 80% of your marketing spend consumption is used up on the headline.
And that’s where a good portion of your effort should go to. Tell them what they need to know in the headline while still leaving them intrigued to read on.
If you sell or are partnered with a well known brand, mention it. If you’re the only place in Ireland that does this, mention it.
Essentially your headline is a mini elevator pitch.

4. Headlines should be positive, informative and independent.
Stay away from words like: no, don’t, never and nobody because when scanning your headline, some readers will misunderstand its intention.
As mentioned in step 3, your headline is a mini elevator pitch. This means that a reader should know everything they need to know after reading it. The body copy will give the details, but the concept should be in the headline.

It always amazes me that so many business owners choose to either write a print advert in house or trust the publication to do the work for them.
This is a one chance deal to gain new customers and your competitors often feature in the same publication. And it’s expensive too.
If you do decide to write advert copy yourself spend some time at it and follow the 4 steps above. Your bottom line will thank you for it.

I’ve used quite a  bland headline for this article can anybody improve it? Please comment below.

Thank you for reading.

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