If this headline is too long but you’re still reading it, then something must be seriously wrong with you. Wouldn’t you agree?

by Parvez Sheik Fareed

Over the last few years I realised that writing is about the only thing I’m good at. (Plus choosing nice furniture and not forgetting my mum’s birthday.) Apart from that I’m mostly rubbish at everything else. However, I don’t consider myself a writer. People who write books are writers. People who write blogs are tenants who happen to have Internet access and Microsoft Word. But back to the headline. When it comes to writing advertising copy, there’s this rule that the headline needs to be as short as possible. Because the message needs to be delivered fast. Basically I agree with that. But this shouldn’t result in the headline being short for the sake of being short. Too often the knee-jerk reaction is: This is too long! Too many words! No lettering! (Silly pun intended.) The real question is: does the headline stick in your mind? That’s what makes the message memorable. For me it doesn’t stop at what you have to say. That’s where it starts. It ends when it remains in the head. Or else I reckon the effect is nil. Saying “The new (insert random car model).” followed by an image of the car is less memorable than “New. Newer. Newest. Newesest. Newesesest. The (insert random car model).” followed by an image of the car. Less isn’t always more. I once read the following: When you aim for your opponent’s head, set the point of impact behind his head. So when you strike, the blow is still in full motion resulting in maximum damage. Applied to writing this is what makes the message stick in the mind. The ad below is one of my favourites doing exactly this. It’s impossible to ignore the image. The headline is hard sell with wit. And the body copy delivers an entertaining read, selling the product all the way. When I see such sheer brilliance I realise that my writing is actually lousy, but my ability to choose nice furniture and not forgetting my mum’s birthday are smashing!