This is the eighth in a series of posts about the elements of a successful newsletter.
In a minute, I'm going to give you a way to write great headlines for your newsletter that is as easy as painting by numbers. But first...
Several years ago, I worked as an editor on a daily newspaper. I didn't write the stories, but it was my job to make sure they all appeared on the page -- and that as many people were attracted to read them as possible.
No page was more important than the front page. And no story on that page was more important than the 'splash' -- the biggest story in the whole paper.
So guess which story got the most attention? And guess which part of that story got the most care lavished on it?
Of the entire newspaper, the big headline on the front page was given top priority.
Why was this?
Because the editors knew it was this element of the entire newspaper that was most responsible for daily sales. So the headline had to be the best it could be.
But there's no point in having a headline if all people do is read the headline and move on. The main purpose of any headline in your newsletter is to get the story underneath it read.
So here's a quick checklist for eye-popping headlines:
- Your headline should indicate the article contains information that is useful to readers
- Your headline should indicate the article contains information that is interesting to readers
- Your headline should inform readers about the content of the article but be leave enough unsaid to intrigue readers to read the entire article
- Your headline should be an accurate representation of the article -- in other words, it shouldn't mislead people into reading an article
- Your headline should (in most circumstances) be in the present tense
- Your headline should contain short words rather than long words
Take a look at newspaper headlines and magazine cover lines to see some excellent examples. (The editors at Cosmopolitan and The National Enquirer, for example, are masters at headline writing.)
Also see this post on great words to put in your headlines to get people reading.
Here's a golden tip you can use to create masterful headlines. Take a headline from a magazine that you think is good and then change it to make it relevant to your article.
For example (from Cosmo):
9 Naughty Sex Positions
9 Relaxing Vacation Destinations
9 Summer Gardening Tips
Gorgeous Skin -- The New Secret
Beautiful Walls -- The New Paint Secret
Healthy Dogs -- The New Diet Secret
Our Get-It Guide to the 21 Most Glam Jobs Today
Our Essential Guide to the 21 Most Useful Household Tips Today
Our Mouthwatering Guide to the 21 Best Restaurants in Florence
Do it that way, and it's as easy as painting by numbers.
(Photo on this post by asifthebes)