A Good Headline Can Have More Than 7 Words

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Deborah S. Ramstorf offers helpful copywriting rules in her article "Know the Mechanics of Good Copy" (April 26). However, I disagree with her rule that a good headline contains a maximum of seven words.

As a veteran copywriter and copywriter coach, I know there is no maximum number of words for a good headline. A good headline is one that does the job of pulling the prospect in. A great headline does so with longevity and consistency.

Consider the classic headline, "They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano, But When I Started to Play!" This headline is more than twice as long as the stated seven-word maximum, yet its power is unfailing. Seventy-five years after originally penned by John Caples, modern marketers still "repurpose" the headline for their own use.

Only yesterday one of my students expressed frustration at all the conflicting information she was finding on the subject of writing copy. Copywriting is complex, and though we learn much from testing, copywriting takes as much from art as it does from science. Therefore, we must be careful when we present copywriting in black and white terms.

Chris Marlow, Superior Sales Copy, Rancho Mirage, CA,


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