I am a big believer in the power of headlines. Good ones immediately win the attention of readers, heighten the interest in the subject about to be presented, and take a perspective (spin) at a common issue in a new way.
I’ve often joked that I have a background in direct marketing, which is now totally useless. But that’s not entirely true. The classic book “Scientific Advertising,” by Claude Hopkins, was the first to put forth the concept of testing headlines to see which ones are most effective. “Scientific Advertising” was first published in 1918, and is now just $1.99 in Kindle format. Talk about ROI?
Test Your Headlines for Response
You should test headlines, too. Before you announce the upcoming event, put up a poster or flyer, write a blog article, or type a subject line into your next eMail – test the headline.
Write down four good headlines. Think, “How to…,” “These 5 Ways…,” “New…,” “Limited…,” etc. Then, put the headlines on one sheet of paper with check boxes next to them. Make 20 copies, and ask 20 people to put a check mark by their favorite. The exercise never ceases to amaze.
With that little field test, your content will improve its chances of breaking through, being noticed, read, and acted upon. A more advanced test would be to measure the number of responses you get from four different headlines if your message includes a call-to-action.
By the way, I love headlines so much I’ve made a hobby of thinking them up and writing them down all the time. Check out these from last Halloween: 13 Haunted Wellness Headlines of 2013.
Hope that was helpful. Let me know of any winning headlines you come up with!
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.