I recently read a good post on Michel Fortin’s blog about headlines and his 3 X 3 Rule:
The best headlines are those that start a story, make a shocking statement, tease a bit, offer a benefit or prepare the reader for what’s to come.
That is, your headline should cater to:
- The three greatest human goals: to make or save time, effort or money
- The three greatest human desires: lust, greed or comfort
- The three greatest human teasers: curiosity, scarcity or controversy
How simple and clear is that? When you think about it, in a marketing perspective, you are trying to save people time, effort or money. So you appeal to their lust, greed or comfort…
Oh, that’s interesting because I just recognize that I usually only appeal to their comfort – something
that always interests me. Rarely to I go for lust or greed…hmmm.
The other factors that "tease" people to open an email or to read an ezine or blog are curiosity, scarcity or controversy. Here I recognize that I use curiosity far more than scarcity and controversy. Although I have been known to push people to sign up for a program before it becomes full. Rarely do I go for controversy, which again is a reflection of my own personality.
Hmmmm, what this reveals to me is that I’m writing headlines as if all readers were like me, and they’re not. What about you readers out there, are you using all three goals, desires, and teasers when you write a headline?