Like comedy, writing a headline that sells your product is hard
Writing headlines, like comedy, is hard. Particularly if one tries to be clever, cute or otherwise find a way to generate interest in the ad, rather than the product itself.
But I will admit that if you’ve got years to work the joke, it can be effective. Pete’s Radiator Shop is a good example, “a great place to take a leak.”
I notice with Facebook, that funny, short, one sentence quips will generate thousands of likes, and it’s tempting to do the same when writing a headline. But the problem is, you’re asking the reader of an ad to do more than simply click a Like button. You’re asking them to buy your damned product!
Your headline is what attracts a reader, and without one, your ad is doomed to fail. Without the right headline, it’s doomed to fail as well. Most readers read nothing but the headline, so it’s essential to cover the bases.
Your product’s advertising should contain a benefit as well as a promise. And often times, that’s enough to catch the reader’s attention. Make the benefit clear and concise, and the promise clear cut. There’s nothing that detracts from believability like an asterisk at the end of a headline.
If your product is news, or there is some kind of news that you can generate about your product, so much the better. “How to” can be two of the most successful words you can use in a headline. Flagging down your demographics is also good – “attention men over 40.”
Now you’ll notice that if you manage to squeeze all this into your headline, there isn’t a lot of room to be cute or funny. This is a good thing. Comedy is hard, and unless you can walk into a room and have the whole room laughing with your one liners, consistently, then you have no business putting it in your headline. People’s time is precious, and they don’t have a lot of it to waste trying to decipher what it is you’re selling.