The Truth About Writing Headlines to Sell Information

by Joe Pelissier on December 3, 2010

Precious Information For Sale

Most people think that the only thing for sale on a website is a product or service.

They forget the most important thing you have to sell is information. The difficulty is you seldom think of information as something to be sold. It just exists.

As a result, serious thought about writing headlines goes out the window.

Good information is priceless.

It demonstrates your credibility and the value you offer. That’s why anyone who writes and publishes information on a website is in the ‘selling’ business. Not necessarily for profit but as a way of engaging with readers who want what you have. And one way to let them know what you’ve got is by writing headlines that attract their attention.

Why Writing Good Headlines Sells Information

No-one will read the precious information about you and your expertise until you are better at selling it. That’s why mastery of writing headlines comes in again (and again, and again).

Good information removes uncertainty.

Once you see information in this light, you realise it’s your DUTY to make crystal clear that what you write will remove any uncertainty.

Most non-commercial organisations distrust headlines – they think they reek of vagrant commercialism.  Perhaps… But the object is to make sure your information IS read.  If not, it will just languish in cyberspace.

If you recognise yourself here, a slight mind-shift is required…

3 Tips when Writing Headlines to Sell Information

1. Accept that, to successfully ‘sell’ what you write, you need more than 2 or 3 words in your headlines.

So, start to write longer headlines.

2. Use Capital Letters on the First Letter of Important Words.

Cultured Europeans (like us?) think this is a dirty American habit. Maybe it is. But it’s a very effective one.

Time and again, tests have shown that headlines with a certain letter in Caps perform better than those that don’t.

3. Write words that work.

Stop trying to be brilliant and use words in your headline that have never been used before. Copy and adapt those that work.

Here are 7 words which the copywriter, David Ogilvy said ‘worked wonders’ .  That was in 1963 – and they still hold true today.

  • How to – because everyone wants to know ‘how to do something’
  • Important Development – because we tend to pay attention if we are told it’s important
  • Easy – who doesn’t want life made easier?
  • The truth about – we are naturally curious….
  • Introducing – it has a sense of expectation
  • Now – we tend to respond to immediacy
  • Advice to –  it implies that help is on the way

Your information is one of 75 million pages on the surface of the web. So, if you want people to read it, you have to attract their attention.

Yes, dazzling images can help. But great results come when you start writing headlines that highlight the problem your information solves.

It’s common knowledge that visitors take only 8 seconds to decide if your page is worth reading. Your headline will influence them more than anything else. That’s why, when you’re writing headlines to sell information,  it’s worth taking time to get them right.

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