There’s only one rule: grab the reader’s attention.
Your headlines or subject lines need to interest or intrigue a reader – and in most cases, tell them what the text is about. The headline’s job is to signpost information, or to stop the reader moving to another page or hitting delete.
The trick is to put yourself in a reader’s shoes. They’re asking: “What’s in this for me? Why should I read on?” Answer that and you’ll often find a good headline staring you in the face.
Imagine you’re promoting a new invention called Powerlow. It’s a device you fit to household appliances that lets them run on less electricity. Here’s a selection of potential headlines. The poor ones are typical of those we see in company communications every day.
Powerlow – introduction
Dull and uncommunicative.
The amazing Powerlow
Amazing because…? Tells us nothing about what’s coming up.
Powerlow is here
As opposed to over there? Tells us nothing.
Powerlow can you go?
Powerlow to your pocket
Trying to put ‘creativity’ before the message.
Powerlow – you’ll see the difference
The difference in what?
Powerlow – a great energy-saving device
Better, but do you mean my personal energy, or my fuel?
Powerlow – save money on your energy bills
I like saving money. Tell me more.
Cut your household bills with Powerlow
Sounds good. I’ll read the first sentence, at least.
Powerlow – the easy way to reduce your energy bills
Good, tell me more.