I’m currently working through another advertising book, Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy. It's a pretty dry read, but I’ve learned a ton about getting people’s attention.

In one portion of the book, Ogilvy talks about how to write headlines that get the most attention. And these aren’t just random tips. These are all based on measured results.

And without further ado, here are Ogilvy’s tips on how to write headlines that work:

  • On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 per cent of your money.

  • Longer headlines sell more than short headlines. If you are lucky enough to have some news to tell, don’t bury it in your body copy, which nine out of ten people will not read. State it loud and clear in your headline. And don’t scorn tried-and-true words like amazing, introducing, now, suddenly.

  • The headlines that work best promise the reader a benefit - like a whiter wash, more miles per gallon, freedom from pimples, fewer cavities.

  • Include the brand name in the headline when possible

  • Headlines which contain news are sure-fire. The news can be the announcement of a new product, an improvement in an old product, or a new way to use an old product–like serving Campbell’s Soup on the rocks. On the average, ads with news are recalled by 22 percent more people than ads without news.

  • Headlines that offer the reader helpful information, like HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, attract above-average readership.

  • Specifics are better than generalities - IE “Sears makes a profit of 5 percent”. This is more persuasive than saying that Sears’ profit was ‘less than you might suppose’ or something equally vague.

  • When you put your headline in quotes, you increase recall by an average of 28 per cent.

  • You get better results if you include the name of each city in your headline. People are most interested in what is happening where they live.

Do you agree with these?

Hit the link below to grab a copy of this book!

Ogilvy on Advertising
By David Ogilvy

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Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family