5 Secrets to Compelling Headlines: The Fish of 10,000 Casts
If you are an avid reader of Blue Chip Tips, you’ll know
that I spend a good deal of time on the water, and a portion
of that time on the water is spent fishing. Living in The
Land of 10,000 Lakes makes this not too difficult to do, but
I also enjoy fishing everywhere our travels take us (hence
our recent fishing and photographic expedition to Alaska).
Over the course of my lifetime, I am pretty sure I’ve reeled
in just about every type of freshwater fish available in our
northern lakes – except one. The Musky.
Walleye and bass and northern pike – all day long. Sunfish
and crappie and bluegill – no problem. But muskies? Not one.
I’ve had what is referred to in fishing parlance as “a
follow” – where you look down at your lure as you reel it
toward the boat just in time to catch a splash and hear the
water ripple as a giant musky is tempted by your lure – only
to turn and swim away at the last minute. But I’ve never
reeled one in.
Muskies are a sport fish – they can grow to be huge – the
world record muskie, caught in Hayward, Wisconsin, was
63-1/2” long and weighed 69 lbs. – and just in case you
aren’t into fishing - that’s a big freshwater fish. But you
wouldn’t want to eat one.
Muskies don’t just bite at anything you throw at them – they
take work. While you can go out and catch walleye with
little effort, the musky is the fish of 10,000 casts. If you
haven’t put in your time on the water, you won’t catch one.
Muskies take sweat equity.
Advertising headlines are a lot like the elusive musky.
While writing body copy comes fairly easily, the most
important element of your ad or direct mail piece – the
headline – takes hard work. You’ve got to put your time in
“on the water” to nail one – and even the experts
consistently write over 100 unique headlines for each
promotion before they settle on the most compelling choice.
Fortunately – just like fishing pros use all sorts of
“special tricks” to improve their musky-catching odds –
copywriters use secrets of their own to consistently craft
powerful, arresting headlines.
That said, here are 5 secrets you can use immediately to
improve your headlines and improve your odds of reeling in
1. Keep it Simple! The best headlines are difficult to write
because you must eliminate every unnecessary word and focus
on one compelling idea – one and only one. Too many ideas
will confuse your reader and you’ll lose your prospect.
2. Focus on Now - Your headline needs to create a sense of
urgency to break through the clutter and get your prospect
to focus on what you have to say. Something isn’t going to
happen – it IS happening.
3. Benefits – By reading your ad or direct mail piece, your
prospect should learn something they didn’t know before. By
providing an inherent benefit in your headline, you build
trust with your prospect which encourages them to read
4. Useful – Make sure the information conveyed in your
headline is useful to your prospect – implying or referring
to information that they need or want to know.
5. Specific – Tell your reader what you are talking about –
what will your product or service specifically do for your
prospect that your competitor’s product or service will not?
Tell your prospect and watch your sales grow!