I saw a great headline the other day: ‘Why it might not be your fault you’re FAT!’ What makes it a good headline? Something about the way it screamed FAT! made me smile, but it works because it grabs attention and gets people to read on.
It appeals to those who feel a bit chubby themselves, their partners who’ve probably encouraged them through a number of diet attempts, those who regularly watch a larger-than-life pal tuck into a plate of cakes, and even the harrumphing brigade who think the obese don’t deserve an ounce of sympathy … all can get something out of it, if only a wry smile and the thought ‘hmmm.’
It’s a headline that gets a reaction, which is what you can usefully aim for when you’re writing. The Telegraph once had a perfect headline (for its readership) about an MP funding his mistress on expenses. It combined power, money, sex and fraud – a wonderfully heady cocktail!
When you need to put a headline on an e-shot, a newsletter or a brochure, think what is likely to appeal to your readers/customers. What are the main selling points that will grab them (this depends on what problems they need you to solve for them, so make sure you’re clear what these could be.)
Why is a headline so important? Because if it doesn’t work, your audience probably won’t bother to read any further. Which would be a FAT lot of good.