“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy,” famously quipped ad guru David Ogilvy. “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Did you know that most people will pass your blog post along to their friends without ever reading it? That’s why newspapers put Facebook and Twitter sharing-buttons right near the headline.
In “Does God Like You?,” Roy H. Williams explores the power of headlines. For example, the one on his post pulls you in because:
- is taboo, (by virtue of introducing the subject of deity.)
- is a question for which there is no “obvious” answer.
Just another example of how the only way to get attention is to never play it safe, as this week’s “The Jersey Shore Guide to Irresistible Personal Branding” from Copyblogger explains.
I’ve never seen a whole episode of the show. But even so, I know its premise, I’ve heard of half a dozen of its characters and most of all, I know that the show has lots of fans. More than eight million of them turned into the last season premiere, it turns out. Writes Copyblogger’s Lisa Barone,
Whether you’re a true fan of Snooki, or you credit her with single-handedly hammering that last nail completing the Decline of Western Civilization, it doesn’t matter.
The fact is that each member of The Jersey Shore cast has gone on to create a recognizable and profitable personal brand in the 14 months the show has been on the air.
How do they do that? They accept and even celebrate their own oddities, they court controversy, they provide lots of drama and they use the name recognition they’ve built on the show to sell lots of product lines from clothes and perfume to weight-loss programs.
“Snooki is a New York Times Bestselling author (wrap your head around that). ‘The Situation’ is said to have made $5 million from appearances and products (including his own vodka line and garment bags),” writes Barone.
What does personality have to do with headlines?
A headline is your best chance to give any piece of writing a personality, to make your piece stand out like Snooki or The Situation.
But nothing’s worse than those headlines that say “Sex, Sex, Sex” and then go on to talk about term life insurance. So don’t forget to deliver on the promise of your headline, as Williams does when he writes that “It is easy to believe God loves us. It is somewhat harder to believe that He likes us,”
You have certain people in your life that you love because they are “family.” But do you really like them?…Love requires a commitment that runs deeper than your feelings…Love isn’t a feeling, it’s something you do. Love is action. Love rolls up its sleeves and wades into messes it did not make. This is how we can love people we don’t like. But just for the record, God likes you. He actually likes you. I asked him if he was sure. He said, “Yeah, I’m sure.”