1. Copywriting

Rookie Mistakes: Braindump Headlines

Here’s another rookie mistake beginning marketers do in their copywriting, it would almost be funny if the consequences weren’t so tragic.

Creative Commons License photo credit: JOCELYN, yo.

This one’s about headlines. Or, let’s call it…

“Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Headlines?”

Hee hee. Alright, let’s go.

Super long headlines. 30 words, 40 words… even 50+ word headlines do occasionally get to the marketplace! Or I should say, to market testing. Because unless you’re John Carlton, it’s unlikely that your super long headline packs the kind of power it takes to grab attention and move you into the rest of the letter powerfully.

Mostly this is only because of lazy thinking; trying to cram four or five ideas into a headline instead of taking the strongest one and making that sing and dance. 20 words is about maximum for a headline that’s well crafted and telegraphs a real benefit or a hook into the offer at hand. Keep that in mind the next time you go at it.

Headlines that fail to grab the prospect’s mind, the discussion they’re already having in their heads. Ideally, you should use a prehead element to ‘prepare the ground’. But the main thing is to resist the temptation to write a headline that just vomits at the reader with little consideration to where they’re coming from. It won’t work, please take my word for it.

Headlines that try to do everything in one go. A close cousin of the ‘endless headline’. Sometimes this looks as if the marketer tried to write the entire sales letter into the headline. That’s not what a headline is supposed to do. Strive for clarity (your reader does too!).

Headlines so poorly designed you can’t even read them. This may sound baffling, but it happens quite a lot. I can only assume some marketers simply don’t test their headlines. Not even on themselces. If they did, there’s no way they’d put out a headline that’s got three different colors, variation in capitalization, poor punctuation or simply disjointed wording. Learn the fundamentals of copy visuals.

The whole point of copywriting is to play a winning game. Do something you KNOW is going to work, as opposed to throwing a lot of spaghetti on the wall in the hopes some of it sticks.

In short: want to start winning in marketing – learn copywriting.

Rookie mistakes like these are understandable and perhaps unavoidable at first, but if you’d rather spare yourself from failures and not play a losing game… learn the fundamentals.

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