How to write a headline that doesn’t suck.

July 09, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Among my pet hates (right up there with rush hour traffic and people confusing ‘you’re’ and ‘your’) is boring headlines on marketing content.

A classic example is the ABC Company E-newsletter that hits my inbox with the subject line ‘ABC Company July Newsletter’. Ugh... As far as subject lines go, that’s about as enticing as a cold cup of coffee.

Whether you’re undertaking an email marketing campaign, creating a media release or posting a blog, the title is critical. If it’s not right, it really doesn’t matter what’s contained in the body of the content... most people won’t be interested enough to open it!

So, how do you craft a great headline? Here are some useful strategies:

1. Ask a question:

Asking a question is a great way of engaging your reader. Ask yourself what’s likely to be playing on the minds of your customers and craft your question accordingly. For example, if you’re writing about home loans in the current market, you could try something like ‘Want to borrow with less than 20% deposit? Here’s how...’

2. Be useful:

I see a lot of marketing content (mainly blogs and email newsletters) that is focussed on company announcements – i.e. ‘We just won an award’, ‘We’ve just launched a new product’, ‘Here’s our latest e-news’... While some company news can be of interest to readers, a much more compelling strategy is to offer your reader something useful – little bit of expert knowledge or a special discount for subscribers are two examples.

3. Appeal to the reader's FOMO:

‘FOMO’ or Fear of Missing Out affects us all. How many times have you seen a video link on Facebook with a title that includes ‘You’ll never guess what happened next...’

4. Be controversial:

Don’t sit on the fence – take a stand, and lead with it in your headline. The Property Market – one of our clever clients – does a great job of this; as a business, they’re intent on shaking up the real estate industry and their blogs reflect that. Check them out here.

5. Solve a problem:

Once again, put yourself in your readers’ shoes. What problems can you solve by imparting a little professional wisdom? An example is a recent blog I published ‘Stuck for blog ideas? 7 ways to get back on track’ – as well as asking a question, the title also offered a solution to a problem I know from experience bothers many business owners and marketers.

Want more help crafting marketing content that works? The team at East Marketing Communications creates clever content that delivers tangible results for clients in a range of industries, covering professional and business-to-business services. Contact us.    


Tags: email writing tips blogs
Category: Writing


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