Tips for Writing Headlines

Write the headline after the body copy is written. It’s easier and more likely to be good because you’ve thought through the products.

  • Be specific, direct and to the point.
  • Write headlines, not titles.  A headline must state a benefit to the target audience.
  • There is no perfect length for a headline.  Say what you need to say, and then stop.
  • The business name placed near the headline in an ad almost always decreases readership while increasing sales.  Why? Because it increases readership among target prospects and quickly screens out unqualified prospects.
  • Headlines are noted more when placed under a major illustration than when placed above the illustration, except when white space is used with a smaller, outlined illustration.
  • Headlines are easier to read when set in upper and lower case type rather than all upper case.
  • One and two deck headlines attract reader attention better than headlines that are three decks or longer.
  • When there is an overline – a statement above the main headline – or a subhead, or both, the headline can be set in caps to avoid visual monotony.  This can also be handled by setting the main headline in boldface, with the overline or subhead in light-face type.
  • Things usually have plural benefits – clean and economical, soft and silky, delicious and refreshing.  Dual benefits make them more valuable to the reader.
  • People often buy on emotion.  Try to make the reader feel more and think less.
  • Make the visual and the headline work together.  Showing a product in use cuts the need for an explanation.
  • Make the headline relate to the product.  Avoid the use of negative connotations, gimmicks and verbal trickery.
  • Use the “So what?” rule.  Ask yourself “So what?” after reading a headline you’ve written.  If an answer doesn’t come quickly, you don’t have a benefit in the headline.  Throw it out and start over.

Source: NAA

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