According to advertising guru David Ogilby, "On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy of your ad. It follows that, unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money." Headlines that work best, Ogilby taught, are those which provide a benefit.
Rifling through the January 2007 issue of People Magazine, blogger Brad Shorr reports, he found headlines that fit the Ogilby standard:
"He’s never laid eyes on wet food this good!" (Eukanuba Cat Food)
"Will you find the person who will change your life? (Match.com)
"100% tasty, 45% less fat." (Kraft)
My own favorite of the headlines chosen by Shorr comes from Olay: "DO try this at home." What a clever contrast, I thought, to all the warnings we hear about NOT trying the showy but risky maneuvers we see professional drivers performing in TV ads. What I like about the Olay tactic is that it takes something I’m already used to hearing and turns that on its ear.
A similar tactic is great for blogs, I think. Find something in your industry that people consider a "given" and come at it in a whole new way. Cooper, Grutzner, and Cooper, authors of Tips & Traps for Marketing Your Business, agree. They recommend making fun of something in your own industry, focusing on a common problem, then showing how you helped customers solve that.
"There are no dull products," the authors conclude, "only dull copywriters." I take that to mean that, if you can’t get excited about why your blog readers DO need to "try this at home", those readers aren’t likely to get excited, either!