Special Categories


Headlines and Subheads

Headlines are the dominant words of copy found at the top or the head of an ad or document. They are also the subject line of an email, the first words on a radio or TV commercial and the opening paragraph of a sales letter.

Headines are intended to grab in the reader’s attention. Eighty percent of the success of an ad depends on stopping the reader, viewer or listener dead in their tracks for more information.

Headlines are selling the reader on continuing on to the next word, next sentence, next paragraph and next page, all the way to the end.

Great headlines have only two functions:
1) To grab your reader’s attention, and
2) To convert that attention to readership of your sales message.

Effective headlines use powerful, thought provoking and/or action oriented words to engage the audience and lead them through the process of reading the ad.

Great headlines do several things:

  1.  Effective headlines are generally seventeen words or less than in length.
  2. They talk about effective ways to reach outcomes that someone is concerned about.
  3.  They talk about the benefits of using your product or service.
  4. They pique curiosity about an idea or solution
  5.  They catch the attention of readers or audiences who are skimming or not paying deep attention.
  6. The set the tone for the remainder of the message
  7. They show where to start in the process of finding out more.

Sure, there are many ads and presentations that break all the rules. From Super Bowl ads that are more entertainment than anything else to messages that show us nothing to do with how a product works or what a product truly is, we see these ads all the time. 

But it is better to be on the side of working towards effective marketing outcomes then to spend all that time, money and resources marketing your products and others say, “I don’t get it.”

Leave using all the cute, oblique, fancy and esoteric marketing to your competitors. Let them waste their precious marketing budgets


The next time you sit down to create a headline, ask yourself these six questions:

  1. Does your headline offer the reader a reward for reading your sales copy?
  2. What specifics could you add to make your headline more intriguing and believable?
  3. Does your headline trigger a strong, actionable emotion the reader already has about the subject at hand?
  4. Does your headline present a proposition that will instantly get your prospect nodding his or her head?
  5. Could your headline benefit from the inclusion of a proposed transaction?
  6. Could you add an element of intrigue to drive the prospect into your opening copy?

Spend 15 minutes on it and I’ll bet you’ll come up with something great

•    Do I keep a swipe file of ads and headlines that grab my attention?
•    What lines of copy from classic ads still stick in my head today?
•    Will my headlines stop readers from skimming or flipping past my ad?
•    Is are there types or styles of ads that find myself more or less drawn to?


Here are 37 headline starters for you to use to write headlines fast:

1. One of the biggest reasons people fail in ______ is ______.
2. The greatest lesson I’ve learned about ______ is ______.
3. The biggest mistake in ______ is ______.
4. Here are the top seven reasons why you should ______.
5. If I had to narrow it down to five steps, they would be...
6. The real secret to ______ is ______.
7. One thing that almost no one knows about ______ is ______.
8. Three of the best web sites for ______ are ______.
9. The absolute worst way to ______ is ______.
10. A secret weapon I use for ______ is ______.
11. Here’s why you should never be afraid to ______...
12. Five proven ways to ______ are ______.
13. The best model I’ve seen for ______ is ______.
14. Two questions to ask when making this decision are______.
15. The best example of ______ is ______.
16. Here’s what you do when ______ happens...
17. The one thing you’ve been told that’s wrong is ______.
18. New evidence suggests this about ______...
19. The one lesson I wish I had learned years ago is...
20. Here’s how to protect yourself from ______...
21. The one question you must ask before ______ is...
22. Three simple exercises to help with ______ are ______...
23. A simple way to organize your ______ is ______.
24. An easy to follow system for ______ is ______.
25. An effective way to speed up your results is ______.
26. Here’s a simple 10-step checklist for ______...
27. An often overlooked way to ______ is ______.
28. When you face this problem ______ , here’s what to do...
29. Should you ______? Take this quiz...
30. If you’re a beginner, then the first thing to do is ______.
31. If you’re experienced, then here’s an “advanced” tip...
32. Seven warning signs of ______ are...
33. Your three best options for ______ are...
34. A way to get faster results from ______ is ______...
35. It only takes a few minutes to ______.
36. Five things you can do today are...
37. For ______, this works like crazy...

Budget: $50 - $200 week -  always test headlines for constant improvement