Orangeville, ON (James Doan) Whether it be an email subject line or a blog or social media headline, or a headline for a letter or a postcard, laying the foundation for a strong headline is very important.

It’s not unusual for a seasoned copywriter to spend 30-50% of their writing time on the headline alone…and coming up with twenty or more headlines before discovering the one that works!

With that in mind, here are four things a headline must do to successfully pull the reader in:

1. Get the reader’s attention: There are many ways to get the attention of your readers, but regardless of the tactic you use, make sure your headline appeals to the reader’s self-interest. Before you work on your headline, ask yourself, “What’s in it for the reader/prospect?”

2. Select the audience: You can’t be everything to everybody. One of the biggest mistake writers make in writing a headline is to direct it to “everyone.” If you try to target everyone, chances are slim that your real audience will even notice the headline. You are selling to “someone”…a specific prospect– one who’s likely to have an interest in your security services. That’s who you want to grab with your headline.

3. Deliver a complete message: Your headline should be able to stand on its own. If the reader has to read the body copy for the headline to make sense, then the headline is a failure. The majority of readers will only read the headline. If it captures their attention, they move forward. If they don’t understand it because it doesn’t deliver a message, then you’ve lost a reader.

4. Draw the reader into the copy: Pull the reader into the copy by once again focusing on self interest. After all, the idea behind the headline is to sell the idea of reading forward to discover a benefit. Offer the prospect hope, give them a reason to be curious, or propose a solution to a nagging problem. Spell out a benefit, use words and phrases that pique interest and set the stage for thing to come.