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Copywriting - How to Write Headlines



In this article we list some of the observations made by David Ogilvy. The observations have been learned by Ogilvy when he was running his ad agency through his research. This article is relevant to anyone who does copywriting optimization.


Ogilvy On Advertising Book (source: amazon)

Ogilvy mentions in his book that he has been struck by the consistency of consumer reactions to different kinds of headlines, illustrations, layouts and copy year after year, country after country. So, most of his findings still can be applied to the online marketing space since their roots are inahuman mind, psychology, and sociology.

Next, we highlight Ogilvy's observations on how to write headlines for a copy to increase the readerships. Without further due here is the list.

Headlines How To:

  1. "On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money."
  2. "The headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit like a whiter wash, more miles per gallon, freedom from pimples, fewer cavities."
  3. "Headlines which contain news are sure-fire. The news can be the announcement of a new product, an improvement in an old product, or a new way to use an old product - like serving Campbell's Soup on the rocks. On the average, ads with news are called by 22% more people than ads without news."
  4. "If you have some news to tell, don't burry it in your body copy, which nine out of ten people will not read. State it loud and clear in your headline. And don't scorn tried-and-true words like amazing, introducing, now, suddenly."
  5. "Headlines that offer the reader helpful information, like HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, attract above average readership."
  6. "I advise you to include the brand name in your headline. If you don't, 80% of readers (who don't read your body copy) will never know what product you are advertising."
  7. "If you are advertising a kind of product which is only bought by a small group of people, put a word in your headline which flag them down, like "asthma", "bedwetters", "women over twenty"."
  8. "Specifics work better than generalities."
  9. "When you put your headlline in quote, you increase recall by an average of 28%."
  10. "When you advertise in local newspapers, you get better results if you include the name of each city in your headline. People are more interested in what is happening where they live."

Take Away

Note that we can apply most of above ideas for writing headlines to digital space when we write ad copies.