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Headlines - The Life or Death of Your Advertising

I'll bet that headline got your attention! That's the whole point of headlines… to get the attention of your reader and cause them to want to read what's below the headline.

Headlines should make such an impact that the reader will be intrigued enough to read the article, advertisement or story that follows. This is the most vital part of your advertisement. If the headline isn't interesting, you have a poor chance to get your point across in the copy because the copy will most likely not be read.

So what goes into a power-packed headline? Well, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Solve a problem - I read a great headline on a web site for custom written poetry ( It said, 'We can solve your gift problem in 1 day for just $15.00'. Wow! If I were in the market for a gift, and didn't know what to buy, I would definitely read the copy that followed that headline. It offered to solve my problem and that caught my attention.
  2. Use a statistic - The Customer Service page of my web site ( states, 'It costs 30 to 40 times more to gain a new customer than keep an existing one.' I know as a small business owner that statistic really hits home. Every small business owner is looking to save money in every area possible. Most are very interested to read what needs to be done to keep their existing customers.
  3. State a quote - Did someone famous say something that applies to your advertising? Can you put a new twist on an old saying? Use it! A weight loss center might try something like, 'If it's not over 'til the fat lady sings then this is going to take awhile!'
  4. Ask a question - Perhaps our same weight loss center might ask, 'What does it take to lose 20 pounds by summer?' One word of caution with asking questions… never ask a question that can be answered with, 'No'. For example, our weight loss center would not want to ask, 'Do you know how to lose 20 pounds by summer?' The reader might very well answer, 'No' and skip the ad. If they knew how, they wouldn't be reading your ad!
  5. Create a mystery - A consumer's watchdog group once began an ad with 'Who's responsible for this!?' That would definitely make me want to find out what the heck was going on.

Above all, make your headline applicable to your target audience. Just as the question, 'Do you know how to lose 20 pounds by summer' doesn't apply because it can be answered with no, it also alienates the target group.

Headlines should be thought out carefully and given a great deal of attention. They are, after all, the life or death of your ad. Creating effective headlines will go a long way toward building more powerful advertising. And powerful advertising makes more sales!

Written by Karon Thackston of KT & Associates. Karon offers targeted copywriting, copy editing & article writing services. Subscribe to KT & Associates' Ezine "Business Essentials" at or visit her site today.

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