GNcareers, from Gulf News

How to write an effective headline for your ad copy.

When advertising, you should know that the bottom line of all successful ads is the headline. When it comes to writing headlines, you should always strive to get it noticed and make it as relevant as possible to your reader. In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways that you can make your headlines work and how they can help make your ads 3 times more effective.

1. First and foremost, your headline must appeal to your reader’s self interest.Communicate the strongest belief (or benefits) to your prospect “What’s In It For Me?” - Your headline should answer this important question.

2. Avoid all punctuation. Periods, commas, explanation marks, quotations and even question marks act as "full-stops" to the reader. You don't want anything to stop the reader's flow from advancing from your headline directly into the main body of the ad. The best headlines will appear as though the headline is merely the first half of a longer sentence, thus the reader does not stop reading to discover more. You do not win awards for proper prose and grammar in advertising. Your goal is to keep the client reading to toward a decision concerning your offer.

3. Your headline must deliver a clear and understandable message. Most people read only the headlines. Because of this, your headline must make a complete statement and compel the prospect to continue reading the rest of the ad.

4. Don't get fancy. The best typeface for both headline and copy, are fonts people are already accustomed to reading. These fonts include the Century family, Caslon, Baskerville, and Jenson, to "mirror" the exact same font as the editorial content of the publication in which you are advertising. If you get creative with fonts, colors, negatives (white type on black background) plus the vast array of other options now available with computers, you will only "lower" readership, and by a great margin! It is a myth that fancy headlines get seen above the crowd, and thus increase readership. If your headline screams out "Advertisement", it jumps to the front of the "Mental ignore list".

5. Don’t try to be clever or humorous with your headlines. These types of headlines are ineffective and a waste of money.

6. Include the words “quick” and “easy” if it fits with what you are communicating.

7. Use specifics in your headlines, Avoid writing "Blind Headlines" that reveal nothing about your offer. A headline must stand entirely on it's own merit, without the reader being forced to read on to discover what the headline was meaning. They won't read on

8. Use upper and lower case letters for your headline. This is easier to read than all capitals. You can put quotation marks around headlines. Studies have shown that quotation marks around headlines increase readership.

9. Use a Thesaurus. When composing a headline, look up every word of your headline in a Thesaurus to find better words, then look up each of the new words you have found to find even more.

10. Do Your Homework! Gather as much information as you can about both your product, and your target audience to discover the "hook" that can be used in your headline. The best headline is often discovered while working through all the information in the creation of the advertisement it's self. Writing great copy and a winning headline takes work and lots of research.