Why are headlines important?

Headlines attract attention

It’s true! Headlines attraction attention… Are your marketing headlines working as hard as they should be?

It’s estimated that the average American is exposed to somewhere between 247 and 3,000 advertising messages a day (depending on which research resource you believe), and the numbers are no doubt similar in other Western countries.

That’s an awful lot of advertising messages! So if you want your message to get noticed, it has to cut through all that noise. And that’s what the job of the headline is.

A good headline cuts through the noise so your message stands out

An everyday example of headlines doing this is in newspapers and magazines: their ability to make sales is largely dependent on their headlines.

But I’m not in the newspaper business…

Even though you’re not in the newspaper business, headlines are absolutely vital. They’re not just for journalists: they are equally important for business owners and marketing professionals.

Here are examples of how headlines are used every day in all types of businesses:

  • Email newsletters: the subject line plays a big role in the recipient’s decision as to whether to read your message or not. The subject line is nothing less than a headline.
  • Websites: website visitors decide within a few short seconds as to whether they’ll read on, or go back to the search engine results. A powerful headline will compel them to read on, instead of hitting the “back” button.
  • Print and online advertisements: the best advertisements are the ones that are compelling… and that’s nearly always done with a headline.
  • Social media updates: yes, even many social media updates benefit from headlines – especially if you want readers to click through to your blog, or take some other kind of action.
  • Flyers and brochures: consumers are exposed to so many printed materials, that yours really need to grab their attention right away. Again, headlines play an important role in this.

As you can see, headlines play a major role in the effectiveness of your marketing, both offline and online.

But I’m not using headlines in all these instances…

If you’re not using headlines in all of the scenarios listed above, you should be! There’s absolutely no point in putting all your time in to writing the body content, if you’re not going to write a strong, attention-grabbing headline! Maybe you haven’t even considered that these attention-grabbing things are actually “headlines”.

Next step: Now that you understand how important headlines are, make sure you write great ones. And be sure to review your existing online and print materials, to make sure that the headlines are as strong as possible.

Just like reporters and journalists spend a good amount of time crafting their headlines to sell their newspapers, you need to craft your headlines carefully too, to cut through all that advertising noise. Here’s what makes a great headline →