Copywriters mostly agree on one thing: Headlines are important.
You’ve probably heard that 7 (or 8, depending on who you read) out of 10 visitors will read your headline and skip the rest of the copy. The purpose of the headline is to get readers so curious they’ll continue on past the headline.
So you’re getting ready to write a sales letter. Do you begin with the headline? Or write the copy and tack on the headline later?
Brian Clark in Copyblogger says to write the headline first. The idea is, your headline represents a promise to your readers. The rest of your copy supports your promise.
Some say write it last. After all, you often don’t uncover your guiding message until you’ve written your copy. So you don’t want to be locked into an irrelevant headline.
Here’s an example. I was writing copy for my course on headlines.
A lot of copywriting courses focus on structure. You get templates like, “Who else wants to…” and, “How to get [something good] without [something bad]”
You might get suggestions like, “What Benjamin Franklin can tell you about losing weight.” In today’s critical market, that one will deflate like a tired balloon.
In fact, being too clever can destroy your message. No pussy-footing around: let’s get out there and say what we mean!
The truth is, templates won’t matter. It’s the message that sells.
So I considered a headline, “Good copywriting – so why doesn’t it sell?”
But that’s misleading because copywriting goes beyond wordsmithing…and it’s too abstract.
My next headline began with a fact: 70% of readers don’t get past your headline. Since I wanted to focus on storytelling, the headline now read, “70% of your prospects won’t see your story unless you put it in your headline.”
I soon realized that most of my readers had seen that message in some form or other. When something seems too familiar, people don’t even see it.
My current headline goes right to the benefits you get from a strong headline:
“5 Steps To Getting More Clients From Your Sales Letters, Landing Pages, & Websites.”
It’s working but I’m still testing.
In summary, the steps I recommend are…
Start with your story.
Create a working headline as a placeholder.
Revise as you write the copy.
Take a few days and see how the headline reads after you’ve been away.
Revise as you get audience reactions.
My course on writing your headline with stories is available at a special price – no coupon needed. I’m not sure when the price will change but you’ve got several days…and why lose sales while you’re waiting to revise your headline?
Click here to get started writing headlines that get results.