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.
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.