Hi this is Tina Lorenz at Authentic Copy and today I’m going to give you a Marketing Minute that I hope will help you with something of a mindbender for many people when they are in copywriting, trying to write their marketing copy, or just trying to get their sales letters started and that is how to write headlines.
Headlines are something that can kind of scare people when they are first starting out and they have no idea how to begin. They go on way too long or they make it way too complicated. There are lots of headlines from the past that people draw inspiration from and you’ll see them all the time. Who else wants to (fill in the blank) or they laughed when I (fill in the blank) where people have taken an old headline and refurbished it into something new.
The problem is if everybody uses the same old headlines over and over again it gets stale and people just numb out. They don’t even see it anymore or they just assume this is a beginner or this is someone who doesn’t have a clue on how to get more with the program and more current with how to write a headline.
Now I’m known for my headlines and I’ve been called one of the best headline writers out there today. The reason for that is they result in very high converting letters. It draws people into the sales letter, converting as high as 37% with huge launches online. And I’ve discovered some formulas along the way that have helped me with creating those really compelling headlines.
Now sometimes the headline does not have to be very, very long. It used to be, even a few years ago, a lot of us wrote way longer headlines that were much more complicated and took up half the page all by themselves. Now I really like punchier, shorter, get to the point with a fast hit kind of headlines that grab your attention.
The whole purpose of the headline is to have your prospect read the next line of copy. Draw them in with curiosity, with something that addresses a problem they are having, gets right to the point very quickly and draws them into the copy. They think, oh this is something relevant to me or this is something I want to know or I’ve been looking for, and it pulls them into the copy.
So remember, the first thing is that the whole point of your headline is to get them to read the next line. It doesn’t have to do the entire job and the entire sales message is not riding on its shoulders all by itself. But you do need to draw them in and reflect back on that later on in your copy. You have to take something from that headline and prove what you said or refer to what you said so that it all becomes very congruent.
There are a couple of ways I write headlines and I’m going to tell you about one today. It’s a resource I use all the time and that you can start using immediately. A tremendous resource for headline ideas is magazines. I’ll show you a couple that I really, really like—for example, one is Prevention magazine. And even though it is health oriented, it can be used for other niches too. Look on the cover of the magazines in your newsstand or bookstores, wherever you are that there are magazines on the rack.
Another resource is www.Magazines.com. Go there and take a look at what’s on the covers. Even the National Enquirer has excellent headline writers. You might think that has nothing to do with what I sell but that is the point. The artful inspiration from a headline comes from taking an existing headline and then refining it, giving it some changes and really restructuring it to meet your niche, your market, your way of speaking to your prospects.
Okay let’s take an example, on this Prevention magazine for example, right over here there is a headline that says – Secrets for a Safer Hospital Stay, #1 Don’t Have Surgery in July. Now that is an excellent headline and it kind of harkens back to one that has been out there a long time about how to travel safely on an airline. One of the things that one says is what not to eat when you’re flying. That definitely peaks everybody’s interest.
So for example, Secrets for Safer Flying – #1 Never Fly on Thursday Afternoon. Again, I’m just making these up and I don’t know if there is a factual reason why not to fly on a Thursday afternoon but you would be doing your research or you would know what the content was of your product and you would draw on that and you would echo it in your headline.
So today I’m giving you examples right off the top of my head that aren’t necessarily factual but just to show you how you can take that headline, Secrets For a Safer Hospital Stay – #1 Don’t Have Surgery in July. Let’s say you’re dealing with relationships issues or happy marriages, Secrets for a Happier Marriage, #1 never Forget the Anniversary. I mean that’s pretty basic. I think that one is pretty factual. But you can take the idea of the headline and make it fit for your product.
Now another one of my favorites and, I think, you’re going to recognize her immediately…here she comes, Oprah. Oprah magazine is a rich resource for headlines off of their cover. Anything that is on a magazine cover guaranteed is working or it would not be there. And many of the magazines have a very formulaic approach. You will see similar kinds and styles of headlines on their cover every month. That is not your imagination and it is not an accident, it is on there because it works.
For example, if you look at Men’s Health magazine at www.Magazines.com, you will see there are always numbers in their headlines – 1,745 Ways to Please Your Woman Tonight or whatever it might be, they always have numbers on their cover in the headline. So that is another tip for you, use numbers in your headlines.
For example, back to our Prevention magazine example, Secrets for a Safer Hospital Stay, if you wanted to turn it into a relationship and we’re talking about marriage, 8 Secrets for a Happier Marriage. And then that, of course, would be in the product. You would have to fit it to your product obviously. But to use a number or specificity is also a way to power up your headline.
Now the one I was going to look at for you today on Oprah magazine says, Say Yes to Life – 28 Genius Ways to Get Unstuck and Make Your Dreams Real. Now that is a great one for personal development right there and if you were in that niche you would want still want to adjust and not take that directly, Say Yes To Your Best Life Yet – 15 Blissful Ways to Get Unstuck and Make Your Dreams a Reality. That is just an adjustment of that existing headline that turns into your headline for your product.
Let’s say you were in another niche completely and you thought this was a cool headline. I like the number and it really grabs your attention. Let’s say you’re in the market right now for how a person can buy a home when it is much more difficult for people to qualify these days and they are renting. So let’s say you had a product for that. We could say something like, Say Yes to Home Ownership – 15 Ways to Quit Renting and Make Home Ownership Your New Reality, something like that. That inspiration comes from that headline.
So I hope these are helpful ideas for you. Start looking at those magazine covers and start thinking, “how can I use that.” By the way, bullets are another thing that can come from your magazine cover ideas. We’ll talk about that another day as well as emails and subject lines. But for today, these are a couple of tips on how you can find some sweet inspiration for writing those compelling headlines that are going to make your prospects dive right into that sales material and stick with you all the way to the sale.
I hope you find this helpful and until next time, this is Tina Lorenz with Tina’s Marketing Minutes.