In my past blog posts, I’ve talked about the importance of headlines. And how they can make or break your copy. We generally scan articles, websites and advertisements before deciding to continue reading. With that in mind, the first thing we scan is the headline. If it doesn’t appeal to our self interests, we’ll just move along to the next piece of writing.

The StumbleUpon button is a great example of how we quickly scan web pages. When we see something we like, we take the time to read it. When StumbleUpon brings up something that doesn’t grab our attention nor interest, we just press the button and wait for the next page to load.

Therefore whenever you’re writing an advertisement, newsletter or article; your headline has to grab the reader’s attention. Luckily for you I’ll explain how you can go about crafting the perfect headline.

6 tips for a perfect headline

1. Always keep the customer in mind

You should have a clear idea of what your customers want and think of the headline from their perspective. However, make the words in your headline reflect what the content in your advertisement is. You don’t want to be misleading. Remember though to keep it short and make it fit on one line with your aim being to arouse interest.

2. Product focused

Your selling a product or service and not your company. Therefore make the product the focus of your headline. Also include the name of your product whenever you can.

3. Sell the product

This probably goes without saying, but still worth mentioning. Your headline is the first thing prospects see and is best used to explain how the product helps your customers. Leading us to tip number 4….

4. Include the product’s core benefit

Keeping in line with being product focused. Make sure to include the core benefit because your prospects will be on the look out for the advantages your product brings them. Think about, what makes your product special? Why would people buy it?

5. Keep it simple

Whatever you do, don’t try and be clever with your headline. Because at the end of the day, you’ll probably be the only one who understands it. Instead make it easy for your prospects to understand what benefits you deliver to them. You don’t want to lose a potential customers because they didn’t understand your “clever” play on words.

6. Keep it positive

Avoid negativity at all costs. Your prospects will interpret your message as something negative and gives them the wrong impression. The headline should make people feel good and positive whenever they encounter your company and products. As Dale Carnigie says, “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”

Headlines are used everywhere; email subject lines, blog titles, articles and in presentations. And for the most part, you’re gunning for the attention of your readers, prospects and customers. Next time you’re browsing through newspapers, opening an email or just surfing the web. Take note of what  prompt you want to read a particular article or advertisement. And for the ones you ignored, ask yourself; why you didn’t want to read?