“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar,” famously quipped uber-quotable ad man David Ogilvy.
You already know that headlines are important. But do you have a strategic approach to writing good ones — that is, ones that get readers to click on your article?
At ad agencies that follow in Ogilvy’s footsteps, copywriters still work hard to craft headlines that are hard to resist. And online, celebrity buzz sites like Buzzfeed have become famous for their clickbait headlines like these:
- 22 Photos Of America’s Most Adventurous Guinea Pig
- Can We Guess Your Favorite Childhood Snack?
- Charlize Theron Perfectly Responded To A Question About Feminism In “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Sadly, most web writers who don’t work at a place like Buzzfeed spend little time on headlines. And it shows. And that’s because most web writers are creative people who are not comfortable with data. So they don’t really know what works in headlines.
But if we want more clicks, maybe we’d do better to follow Ogilvy’s example and, when it comes to headlines, bring data to bear on our creativity.
“A psychologist flashed hundreds of words on a screen and used an electric gadget to measure emotional reactions,” Ogilvy wrote in Ogilvy on Adversiting. “High marks went to darling. So I used it in a headline for Dove.”
Looking for headline help? Start with the infographic below.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group
Please include attribution to Blog.HubSpot with this graphic.