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One-Minute MarketerWhy is This the Best Headline You’ll Ever Read?

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Why is This the Best Headline You’ll Ever Read?

There are a lot of people who believe the quote, “80% of readers will never get past the headlines; Only 20% will read the story.”  Some believe that it is not true research, but a repeated quote from David Ogilvy’s 1963 book, “Confessions of an Advertising Man.”  That book is why I’m in advertising – it still sits on my bookshelf – but that is for another blog. 20161025_135242

Mr. Ogilvy said something to the effect that “on average, 5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

So, how long should you spend on your headline compared to your copy? Probably about half the entire time of writing.

Here are some key thoughts taken from a lot of sources about headline writing:

  • Use about 6 words (character counts past 65 will be cut off in search results)
  • Negative wording encourages engagement because it taps into insecurities (words such as no, without and stop tend to lead to more shares)
  • Use numbers and lists (use digits rather than words)
  • Use alliterations and rhyming words
  • Ask a question. It begs an answer, especially if you don’t know the answer

Social Media Today/QuickSprout suggested this formula: Number or Trigger Word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise = Great Headline.

So “How to Sell Your House” becomes “How You Can Effortlessly Sell You Home in Less Than 24 Hours.”

Now that would get my click.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.