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38 Great Ideas for Your Next Headline

The best way to get ideas for headlines when you are stuck is to keep a swipe file of successful ones and consult it when you write a new ad or mailing. Here’s a partial collection from my swipe file, organized by category:

1. Ask a question. “What Do Japanese Managers Have That American Managers Sometimes Lack?”

2. Tie to current events. ” “Stay One Step Ahead of the Stock Market Just Like Martha Stewart – But Without Her Legal Liability!”

3. Create new terminology. ” “New ‘Polarized Oil’ Magnetically Adheres to Wear Parts in Machine Tools, Making Them Last Up to 6 Times Longer.”

4. Give news using the words “new,” “introduction” or “announcing.” ” “Announcing a Painless Cut in Defense Spending.”

5. Give the reader a command – tell him to do something. ” “Try Burning This Coupon.”

6. Use numbers and statistics. ” “Who Ever Heard of 17,000 Blooms from a Single Plant?”

7. Promise the reader useful information. ” “How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake You Can Make in Building or Buying a Home.”

8. Highlight your offer. ” “You Can Now Subscribe to the Best New Books – Just as You Do to a Magazine.”

9. Tell a story. ” “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano … But When I Started to Play.”

10. Make a recommendation. ” “The 5 Tech Stocks You Must Own NOW.”

11. State a benefit. ” “Managing UNIX Data Centers – Once Difficult, Now Easy.”

12. Make a comparison. ” “How to Solve Your Emissions Problems – at Half the Energy Cost of Conventional Venturi Scrubbers.”

13. Use words that help the reader visualize. ” “Why Some Foods ‘Explode’ in Your Stomach.”

14. Use a testimonial. ” “After Over Half a Million Miles in the Air Using AVBLEND, We’ve Had No Premature Camshaft Failures.”

15. Offer a free report or booklet. ” “New FREE Special Report Reveals Little-Known Strategy Millionaires Use to Keep Wealth in Their Hands – and Out of Uncle Sam’s.”

16. State the selling proposition directly and plainly. ” “Surgical Tables Rebuilt – Free Loaners Available.”

17. Arouse reader curiosity. ” “The One Internet Stock You MUST Own Now. Hint: It’s NOT What You Think!”

18. Promise to reveal a secret. ” “Unlock Wall Street’s Secret Logic.”

19. Be specific. ” “At 60 Miles an Hour, the Loudest Noise in This New Rolls Royce Comes from the Electric Clock.”

20. Target a particular type of reader. “We’re Looking for People to Write Children’s Books.”

21. Add a time element. ” “Instant Incorporation While U-Wait.”

22. Stress cost savings, discounts or value. ” “Now You Can Get $2,177 Worth of Expensive Stock Market Newsletters for the Incredibly Low Price of Just $69!”

23. Give the reader good news. ” “You’re Never Too Old to Hear Better.”

24. Offer an alternative to other products and services. ” “No Time for Yale – Took College At Home.”

25. Issue a challenge. ” “Will Your Scalp Stand the Fingernail Test?”

26. Stress your guarantee. ” “Develop Software Applications Up to 6 Times Faster or Your Money Back.”

27. State the price. ” “Link 8 PCs to Your Mainframe – Only $2,395.”

28. Set up a seeming contradiction. ” “Profit from ‘Insider Trading’ – 100% Legal!”

29. Offer an exclusive the reader can’t get elsewhere. ” “Earn 500+% Gains With Little-Known ‘Trader’s Secret Weapon.’ “

30. Address the reader’s concern. ” “Why Most Small Businesses Fail – and What You Can Do About It.”

31. As crazy as it sounds … “Crazy as it Sounds, Shares of This Tiny R&D Company, Selling for $2 Today, Could be Worth as Much as $100 in the Not-Too-Distant Future.”

32. Make a big promise. “Slice 20 Years Off Your Age!”

33. Show ROI for purchase of your product. ” “Hiring the Wrong Person Costs You Three Times Their Annual Salary.”

34. Use a “reasons-why” headline. ” “7 Reasons Why Production Houses Nationwide Prefer Unilux Strobe Lighting When Shooting Important TV Commercials.”

35. Answer important questions about your product or service. ” “7 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Collection Agency … And One Good Answer to Each.”

36. Stress the value of your premiums. ” “Yours Free – Order Now and Receive $280 in Free Gifts With Your Paid Subscription.”

37. Help the reader achieve a goal. ” “Now You Can Create a Breakthrough Marketing Plan Within the Next 30 Days … for FREE!”

38. Make a seemingly contradictory statement or promise. ” “Cool Any Room in Your House Fast – Without Air Conditioning!”

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