Yes, the headline for this blog post could be improved upon, but what makes a headline memorable? What makes you want to open an email? What makes you flip over a direct mail piece to read further? What makes you retweet a Tweet?
If you recall some of best subject lines that you have ever read, all of them embody a combination of the following Four-U’s:
In order to have the perfect headline, naturally, all four elements need to be incorporated. No easy task. However, by working on including at least three of them, call-to-action is almost a given.
The 4 U’s were originally developed by Master Copywriter Extraordinaire, Mr. Michael Masterson.
Above all else, the headline should be given considerable amount of time to create. Like musicians who create titles for their songs, or movie producers and their latest films, the headline is usually revised a number of times throughout the course of developing the content, before it is a done deal. Case in point, the headline for today’s blog post:
“4 Must-Have Elements To Make Your Headline Dazzle In Today’s Market.”
I personally went through about 12 versions before settling on this headline. By no means is it perfect, but let’s see how it stacks up against the 4 U’s.
- Useful – if you’re in business, you will likely see this headline and at least give it some consideration. It is conveyed as a no-brainer to be reading this.
- Unique – this title was quite a transformation from my very first version: “The 4 Key Things To Consider When Writing An Effective Headline.” The word ‘Dazzle’ was the unique but impactful kicker in this example.
- Urgent – by suggesting how the elements are “Must-Haves” in ‘Today’s Market’, the headline encourages readers to take action ASAP or succumb to obsolete strategies.
- Ultra-specific – this information isn’t meant for everybody. It is meant for people who do Marketing, hence specifically identifying ‘Promotional Headline’. The 4 Elements also narrows the scope of the blog post, so readers know what to expect.
All things considered, headlines can always be improved, and the one above is no exception. While the headline itself encompasses all 4 elements, the level of impact within each element can also be tweaked for improvements.
So practice writing and re-writing the perfect headline for your next piece. It’s no easy task, so don’t neglect it.