By Jennifer James

While writing a recent press release for market2world client “Tante Caroline”, a French-Canadian educator and entertainer (in the photo below), I was stuck on one thing: the headline. I went in circles trying to write the perfect headline before settling on:

Back to school with “Tante Caroline” as Roots and Wings National Tour motivates appreciation for French language and culture across Canada

With her flying bicycle and multimedia production, Tante Caroline and her puppets inspire kids across Canada to learn French with songs and stories

Was all this fussing necessary? Absolutely. The headline is the first thing that people see and it is the ultimate content test, grabbing readers and pulling them into the body copy – the content in the article or press release.

The headline should be thought of as an ad for the body copy. It should capture the reader’s attention, piquing their interest so that they continue reading. If the headline falls short, then your copy may not get read, no matter how great the content is.

“The headline is read by five times as many people who read the body copy”, stated David Ogilvy, a notable advertising executive, often called “The Father of Advertising”.  “The headline is what stops people in their tracks and seduces them to continue reading.” In fact, Ogilvy was so aware of the value of a good headline that he rewrote the famous headline for a Rolls Royce ad 104 times: “At 60 miles an hour, the only thing you hear in the new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the dashboard clock.”

An article written by Brian Clark on Copyblogger.com, a popular blog for copywriters, listed some guidelines for writing great headlines, including the “The 50/50 Rule of Headlines”. According to Clark, writers should spend half of the entire time it takes to write the article on the headline.

Writing a great headline doesn’t guarantee success. The headline, once it has pulled people in, has to be supported by great body copy. But great body content with a marginal headline is bound to go largely unread.

Want great content and a great headline? Contact market2world today!

(Jennifer James is a Communications Strategist with market2world communications inc., Ottawa, Canada's tech PR and product marketing agency.)

1 Comment