Headlines are often considered to be one of the most important aspects of copywriting. Headlines are the first thing a reader will see and can therefore make or break the reader’s impression of the article and strongly influences their decision to continue reading the article or not. More than simply grabbing the reader’s attention, a great headline can communicate the whole message of the article in a five-word sentence!

As a copywriter it is important that you are aware of the different types of headlines being used and what their strategic advantages are:

  • Direct Headline: these headlines shun any type of cleverness or figures of speech to go straight to the heart of the issue. These are often best used for selling propositions, such as “25% off ladies’ perfumes” or “Clearance Sale – everything must go!”
  • Indirect Headline: these headlines may be used in copywriting to take a more subtle approach. While the heading may not make the content of the article clear, it uses curiosity to grab the attention of the reader by asking a question, which the body of the article will then answer. Often puns or double meanings are used to employ humour.
  • How-to Headline: this is one of the most basic and most used headlines. It is simple and straightforward and catches readers’ attention by clearly stating what the intention of the article is. Some examples might be “How to choose the right light bulb” or “How to save money on your water bill”.
  • Question headline: this headline is used to do much more than simply ask a question. Rather a copywriter uses such a headline to ask a question which the reader will empathise with or would want to see answered. Examples include “Do you suffer from road rage?” or “Who wants to get rich quickly?”
  • Reason-why Headline: this headline is used often used when the body of an article contains a list of features or tips of a product, or a comparison, which is then incorporated into the headline. Examples of this headline are “10 reasons to switch from petrol to diesel” or “100 reasons why open source software is better than Microsoft”.

These are just a few examples of the most popular types of headlines used by copywriters. Bear in mind that because the headline of the article is so important, you should always choose your headline very carefully.

Need help with your copywriting? Contact WSI OMS.

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