Headline Tips: Copywriting Pearls of Wisdom from Gene Schwartz

Copywriting tips for headlinesMany folks appreciated Gene Schwartz’ rules of copywriting that I posted previously. So, I thought I’d share more pearls of wisdom that he wrote about in his book Breakthrough Advertising.

In his own words “. . . I’ve written this book – not from the mail order perspective alone – but from the universal problem of all copy writing: How to write a headline – and an ad that follows it – that will open up an entirely new market for its product. . . This . . . is a practical book, of practical rules that produce, and exploit, creativity, and that are meant to pay off on the very first ad.”

According to Gene, “your headline has only one job – to stop your prospect and compel him or her to read the second sentence of your ad.” With that in mind, while he explores the topic extensively in his book, here are just a few of Gene’s favorite tips for writing great headlines:

1. State the claim as a question. “Could you use $200 a week extra income?”

2. State the difference in your headline. “The difference in premium gasolines is right in the additives.”

3. Address the people who can’t buy your product. “If you’ve already taken your annual vacation, don’t read this. It will break your heart.”

4. Address your prospect directly. “To the man will settle for nothing less than the presidency of his firm.”

5. Accuse the claim of being too good. “Is it immoral to make money this easily?”

6. Challenge the prospect’s present limiting beliefs.
“You are twice as smart as you think.”

Which of these ideas have you used in your marketing pieces? Have any of your own pearls of wisdom you’d like to share? Please do because I’d love to hear from you! Thanks a million.

Source: Schwartz, Eugene. Breakthrough Advertising, Boardroom Books, 1984.