AMiable Solution #401: 3 Ways to KISS Your Headlines
Whether you write them for brochures, emails, blogs, websites, press releases, or newsletters, headlines need to grab your audience’s attention and pull readers into your copy.
What’s the best way to do that? Preview the story and highlight the benefits. Here are three undeniable tips for keeping your headlines short, sweet, and simple, yet enticing for your readers:
1. Use unique words. Think about it: how many times have you read a press release in which a company “announced” or “launched” a product? Too many, most likely. To truly stand out and catch your reader’s eye, you need to think beyond typical key words. Instead of your company “announcing” a new bar of soap, let your company “reinvigorate” the soap market with your new line. Don’t just “launch” a new lawn service, “reacquaint” homeowners with backyards for summers full of fun.
2. Use active verbs. The verbs in your headlines preview your story. Use them to your benefit! Corporate communication trainer Ann Wylie suggests using athletic verbs to give your headlines life. Think along the likes of “runs,” “races,” “scores,” “dribbles,” “bounces,” “returns,” “serves,” “tackles,” etc. For best effect, write in the present tense, and keep your verb among the first few words of your headline. If you don’t, the story of your copy gets lost, and your readers move on.
3. Emphasize a benefit. Your headline has to have more than a great verb to get someone to read it and beyond—it has to tell your audience what’s in it for them. You can do this in a number of ways:
· Use numbers. Quantifying your information lets readers know exactly what to expect from your copy: Learn to Cha-Cha in 5 Days, Up Your Resume Game with 3 Simple Changes, Start a Blog in 3 Easy Steps.
· Turn questions into statements. Think about the words “how,” “why,” “when,” and “what,” and turn them into your headline: How to Get the Best Price at the Printer, Why Posting to Social Media at Night Won’t Work, When to Follow-Up with Prospects for Maximum Return, What to Do When Customer Service Falls Apart.
· Go for the heart. Marketer Angela Giles says that “adjectives that tug at the emotions of your readers can go a long way.” Some of her favorites? Absolute, sure, fun, free, essential, effortless, best, incredible, and strange.
Don’t let their short length fool you: your headlines bear an incredible burden in your marketing. Give them the time and the attention they deserve.