SAY IT STRAIGHT. THEN SAY IT GREAT.

It’s simple advice, but it’s helped me more times than I can count.

We all know that a blank page can be overwhelming and if you’re trying to write a beautifully written, poetic 3-10 word headline that will inspire a consumer to change their behavior, forget about it.

So before you try to write that perfect sentence, figure out what you’re trying to say.

Here a few famous headlines and what the “straight” versions might have been.

STRAIGHT:    If one tiny thing is wrong with our car, it won’t make it past the inspection.

GREAT:

volkswagen_lemon.jpg

STRAIGHT:   Riding a Harley is a better experience than riding in an airplane.

GREAT:

©Chris-Wimpey_Harley-Peanuts

STRAIGHT: If you read our newspaper, you’ll be the smartest person in the room.

GREAT:

 

the-role-words-play-in-the-digital-age-32-638

So the next time you sit down to write that award-winning headline, figure out what you’re trying to say first. Literally write that sentence on the top of your page and keep looking back to it to re-ground yourself and make sure you’re on the right track.

While we’re on the subject of great headlines, what are some of your favorites?

About thishammer

Alison Hammer is an advertising writer/Creative Director and the author of Face The Music (currently seeking agent representation). She has lived in 9 cities, studied at 2 universities and 1 “Circus”, worked at 8 ad agencies, sailed on The Rock Boat 15 times and watched over 120 Gator football games (including 2 national championships). She loves words and the challenge of bringing them together to inspire, to sell products and make people feel something. She has experience writing in every medium for clients ranging from telecom and retail to the Military and hotels.
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