How to test your headline

I’m going to share the best advice I’ve ever been given on how to write a great headline.

But are headlines really that important? Why should you spend your time crafting a few words when you have the rest of the page to make your point?

2 reasons. 1 man.

David Ogilvy said that the headline was the most important thing you write –  ’80 cents of your dollar’ – and you should listen to David Ogilvy.

Reason number 1: His work

headline ogilvy work

Reason number 2: His house

headline ogilvy house

And don’t forget that you’re writing headlines all the time, even if you’re not a writer. There’s one at the top of your powerpoint slide and another on the front page of your proposal. There’s also a headline box (sorry – ‘subject line’) for every email you write. Headlines are more than just the billboard at the end of your street.

So, let’s get writing.

I’m not going to tell you what to write – that’s up to you. If you want a magic formula, a list of the world’s catchiest words or 36 different opinions on how to win at pagerank, you can Google elsewhere.

What I am going to tell you, is how to test your headline.

Take the headline you’ve written, get up from your chair, and head to the nearest window.

Open it. Take a deep breath, and shout your headline at the unsuspecting public down below.

How did that feel? Did the line sing from start to finish or did you stumble halfway through? Did anyone on the street understand what you’re shouting about? Did any of them care?

If you found it easy to shout your words out loud, and you think that people understood what you’re getting at, then you have your headline.

If not, then rewrite it and try again.

We help everyone in your company write less and say more. If you want us to get your staff off their chairs and shouting out of your windows, talk to Chris.