How to Write A Good Headline

This is about headlines, particularly headlines for materials that sell health supplements, but there are lessons here for every headline writer. The headlines I’m going to quote come from Mike Pavlish, a successful copywriter who claims that they made him “$4 million in royalties.”

Mike correctly says that headlines are critical. He alludes to John Caples, a famous dead copywriter, who claimed that headlines “can pull 19 times more response than another headline with no other change in the copywriting or offer.”

“Without a great headline,” Mike says, “you are like the person who brings a knife to a gunfight – defeated before you even start.”

That said, let’s take a look at 10 of Mike’s headlines that performed very well…

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European Threat Levels

By: John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated,” or even “A Bit Cross.”

The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since “The Blitz” in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

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Flora Aphrodite

Named for beauty and for love You are ugly and loathed Notorious for eating flies You feed on ants Your spiny-edged leaves Are split like half-truths Tickled by tiny feet They clutch and seize their prey From a bright, unsullied dynasty Whose name itself is Sundew You practice your deceit In shaded swamps and dim-lit bogs Dionaea muscipula The scientists call you But to me you are love’s promise Beautiful, inscrutable, deadly

My Office

Like many male writers of my vintage, one of my literary heroes is Ernest Hemingway. Not just because I loved his stories and admired his prose but also because of the large, masculine way he lived his life. I liked the skiing and the sailing and the fishing and the boxing and the hunting and the bullfighting and the drinking and I even liked the fact that he shot himself when his end was inevitable.

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Your Lesson for This Morning

Study the lifelines of a leaf Measure them against those of your palm Subtract the lovers and friends you have forgotten Add the kindnesses you have given today Divide by the Saturdays you have left Go to the nearest tattoo parlor Have the number inked on to your pinky finger Chop it off and start again

The Night Watch

By High Talk and Rumors

The Night Watch
Rembrandt van Rijn
1606 – 1669

Rembrandt is generally considered to be the greatest of all the Dutch painters and one of the greatest painters of all time. Biographers usually demarcate his career in three parts: the 1630s when he painted portraits; the 1640s when he painted larger, formal paintings of groups of men; and the later period when his paintings became dark and mystical. With each successive change his reputation diminished.

The Night Watch was painted in 1642, when he was 36 years old and still popular. Originally titled The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenhurch, it depicts 29 members of the civic guard.

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Facts to Be Aware Of

1. At minus ninety Your breath will freeze In midair And fall To the ground Watch where you step 2. Antarctica is the only continent with no owls So make provisions when packing to go there 3. All of Forest Gump’s still photos Picture him with closed eyes Think about why you didn’t notice that Adjust your perspective accordingly 4. There are 2,598,960 possible hands in Texas Hold ‘Em And just as many chances to go wrong in Oklahoma 5. A ten-gallon hat holds three quarts of liquid Three quarts of liquid is more than two quarts of blood 6. In 1941 When Thomas Edison died Henry Ford captured his last breath in a bottle When Henry Ford died His …

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