You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your clients will come from 20% of your marketing. The final 20% of effort you add to a project will move the needle from “good” to “great.”
In general, one lesson I’ve picked up from people who seem to be successful without putting in long hours: Spend your time on activities that are most likely to generate results. If you generate more leads from Medium than from social media, spend the time with Medium.
It seems simple, but it’s not always easy to put into practice. Often the less productive activities are easier and more fun. I particularly get tempted to create graphics for social media accounts.
When it comes to writing persuasive content, the most productive component is also the most challenging: the headline.
You probably know (in fact you may have read on my website) that 70% of readers will read the headline and skip away before reading the rest of the sales letter. Most copywriters learn early: When the copy isn’t working, tweak the headline. Pro copywriters also spend more time writing the headline than the rest of the copy, because that’s the biggest payoff.
A lot of training programs focus on headline format. We all learn to set up headlines like, “Who else wants…” and “How to get X without giving up Y.”
Those formats are helpful. But the message that gets sent through the templates will be even more important. A headline like “How to weave baskets and still have time for your favorite movie” won’t do much for the readers of my blog, although the formula is well-tested. Even, “Who else wants to hire a copywriter for less than $10,000” will draw attention only from a tight niche.
Another trap emerges when we see a clever headline and think, “That’s what I’d like to write.” Alas, the headline probably worked for a Celebrity archetype. If you’re an Educator or Innovator, you’ll need a different style. In fact, you may do best with a simple “here’s what it is” headline than something over-the-top creative.
In summary –
1 – Spend more time writing the headline than the rest of the page.
2 – Develop your story before you choose your template.
3 – Make your headline consistent with your story archetype.
ENDING TONIGHT: My course on Headlines with Stories takes a unique approach to writing headlines. Instead of applying templates, you’ll learn how to use storytelling to reach your target market.
Click here to learn more. Through midnight TONIGHT Friday, Feb 11, take an extra $10 off the intro price with coupon code FEB10. You won’t get tips to be “catchy” but you’ll get solid guidance for writing headlines that deliver results.