How not to write lame headlines

The most important bit of copy in an ad: the headline.


The hardest-to-write bit of copy in an ad: the headline.


That’s why this article, Top ten secrets of headlines that pull, at SOFII (the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration) is worth reading right now. Here they are (but go read the whole thing):



  1. It has to have impact.
  2. Keep it short. (I don’t agree with this one; there’s no special power in a short headline, and long ones can be extremely powerful.)
  3. Tell a story.
  4. Make an offer in the headline.
  5. Include a price. (Maybe.)
  6. Your headline has to resonate. (As in, it’s gotta sound good. Read it out loud. If it’s clunky and awkward sounding, it’s a bad headline.)
  7. Don’t punctuate. (Mainly don’t put a period at the end.)
  8. Observe reading gravity. (The eye moves left to right and top to bottom. Don’t create visual barriers to that movement.)
  9. Allow your headline enough space.
  10. Copy what others do. (There’s no shame in this, and it can really work for you.)


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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