Headlines are the “preview trailer” for the rest of your “feature film” copy.
Think about the purpose of a film trailer: it’s to get you to want to plop down your hard-earned moola for a ticket, buy a bucket of overpriced buttery popcorn with a gigantic cup of soda on the side… and watch their movie!
That is the purpose of your headline.
Just think if a film trailer showed you the inside of the lead actor’s dressing room, complete with him joking around with the makeup artist. Or maybe the trailer showed the gorgeous scenery of New Zealand or the gritty details of a large city. But there was nothing “teasing” you about the plot of the movie.
Would you be drooling to attend the midnight showing of such a movie? Of course not.
So this means that you do not want to quickly write a headline that you think is cool, clever, or even witty. In fact, when you create such headlines, you may grab attention for a second but usually the reader will move on quickly to something else.
Because your headline did not provide for them a benefit. It gave them no good reason to slow down and read the rest of your copy because they didn’t see the point.
Headlines that do not speak to a reader’s need, that do not promise a benefit for continuing to read… only serve to stroke the ego of the writer. Sure, your friends may think it’s an “awesome” headline… cute, clever, etc. But are you getting prospects to stick around to read your copy?
Beware of good friends and family “liking” what you do!
Think about good movie trailers, their pace, the music behind it building up expectation, the quick cut-aways and sudden stops that make you wonder what happened next… all of these elements that arouse your curiosity and speak to your need to be entertained.
Now think of your product or service and how you can copy this method for your purpose. What will arouse curiosity?
“How A Fool Stunt Made Me A Sales Rockstar“
Or, “Take This Correspondence Course And Become A Successful Sales Person.”
One makes you curious as to what the “fool stunt” was and draws you in. The other is an ordinary headline that has little curiosity about it. You already know it’s selling a course and may or may not continue reading.
Both are selling a person on taking a correspondence course on selling but the first one speaks directly to a person’s need to 1) satisfy their curiosity and 2) becoming wildly successful, the kind of success that fills people with awe and admiration.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about different headlines that will grab attention. Meanwhile, think about what you’re offering and how to use your headlines to entice readers, seduce them, and persuade them. The key is to hook them and keep them reading. More later…