August 18

John Carlton Copy Tips: Headline Tip #1: Think in Terms of Three


In this copywriting hotseat John Carlton says that in order to create effective headlines, think in terms of three benefits.

John’s comments:

When you are thinking about headlines (this is something I notice a lot in copy that I review), this is not a hard-and-fast rule…think in terms of three’s. Think in terms of three benefits. If you are thinking about your USP (your unique sales proposition, which is what sets you apart from the competition, sets you apart from everyone else in the market, sets you apart from every other product out there, sets you apart in your customer’s mind) think of three benefits that you can give the guy. That will get you started. Now, you may end up with eight, or you may trim it down to one…it doesn’t matter. If you think in terms of three it will get you started. As we all know, the hardest thing to do is get that first _______on a blank piece of paper.

When you are writing a headline…and you are going to do a benefit-driven headline, like “Hey, Joe Blow, would you like to blank, blank, and blank?” Here’s an easy way to do it. If you think in terms of threes, that short-cuts a lot of the getting started stuff. It is a tactic that a lot of writers use.

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