Headlines are one of the most important aspects of any piece of copy. Discover how to use classic Ads of yesteryear to create some incredible pieces of content that will convert.
Are you keen to catch attention with your content? If so, then you need to make sure that you are writing headlines that dazzle your audience and connect with them directly.
Headlines are a key reason why some content will go viral and even gain media attention. Of course, if users share your content, then you’re expanding the reach. You could potentially ensure that your conversions go through the roof.
Simple elements boost the performance of a headline too. For instance, according to BuzzSumo in 100 million headlines surveyed the phrase “will make you” led to double the shares on Facebook. That’s a massive impact.
Of course, headlines can also be a great source of inspiration for other pieces of copy. You can take classic headlines from the past and restructure them into subject lines that your audience won’t be able to resist.
Let’s take a look at some of the most famous examples of headlines and how they can be used the right way. won’t be able to resist. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous examples of headlines and how they can be used the right way.
At 60 Miles An Hour, The Loudest Noise In The New Rolls-Royce Comes From The Electric Clock
Back in 1963, David Ogilvy published a book known as ‘Confessions Of An Advertising Man.’ The book established key elements that the industry expert had used to reach customers including fantastic headlines.
The example above was Ogilvy’s personal favorite. He claimed that the entire advertisement included nothing but facts and this is certainly highlighted in the headline. Indeed, the headline is a clear example of speaking to the audience rather than speaking for the business.
It also highlights a key benefit of the product in question that immediately separates it from alternatives. There’s a reason why this is the most famous and most successful headline Rolls Royce has ever run.
Car companies do use a similar structure for their subject lines. They highlight a key benefit of a model when it is launched and pitch it to the user.
How Women Over 35 Can Look Younger
This subject line appeals to the reader's self-interest. It appeals to their vain side, it makes them want to look younger than they are, and that is the kind of thing that sells.
But, as well as this, it also uses simple language so that everyone can understand, pushing it more towards personal copy than something that people look away from. If you’re using complex words, some of your readers might not understand what you are trying to get across, and this is not going to make for a good ad.
People aren’t interested in what they don’t get, so it’s important that you’re using universal words, while still appealing to the self-interest of your target audience.
The Man In The Hathaway Shirt
Using a story to draw the attention of your readers is one way to make sure people take an interest. This is going to be geared more towards ads than being used as a subject line because the picture is important. You want to add a ‘story appeal’ to your ad and you can do this through the headline and the photographs.
People are going to look at these two things and want to know more about what is written in the content. That’s what made this ad so successful, the implication in the headline is that there is a story to tell, and you can use this to entice your readers into reading the content itself.
It’s Mutiny To Mix A Gin-And-Tonic Without Schweppes
The aim of this headline is to suggest that if you like gin-and-tonic - the product - you need to know about Schweppes - the brand. Indeed, it suggests that it’s impossible to love gin-and-tonic if you’re not familiar with this product.
This is definitely playing on the idea of FOMO but it also throws some humor into the mix. Humorous or witty headlines are popular for subject lines because they feel more personal. Interestingly, there is another version of this headline:
“Schweppes discovers America - and vice versa!”
While still a clever angle, it fails to effectively single out the prospect. The previous version that Ogilvy preferred suggests that there should be no other option than the product in question.
‘They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano - But When I Started To Play’
Back in 1927, this ad was created and since then, it has become potentially the most swiped ad ever. The ad is all about proving that conceptions are not always correct and this can make for an excellent subject line.
It’s about bringing that wow factor to your ad or your subject line and proving people who at first thought one thing about you, to be wrong. If you are advertising the chance to learn something new then this ad is a great one to take notice of.
The subject line alone catches your interest and then leads you into something that you didn’t know you wanted.
Do You Make These Travel Mistakes?
This is another famous example of a headline created by John Caples. The headline is asking the audience a question that makes it immediately personal and direct.
It also suggests that the copy they are about to read will solve a problem that they have. This is always the recommended approach to creating copy. Present a problem - travel mistakes - explain the solution, and offer the product as part of that solution.
A question like this can work for a wide variety of subject lines:
Losing The Battle Against Spam?
Are You Guilty Of SEO Errors?
Get Rid Of Money Worries For Good
This is another example of presenting a problem that the audience might have and preparing to deliver the solution. Notice in this example that there is also a hint of a definitive solution.
The words “for good” here suggest that people are never going to need to worry about issues with their finances for good. The word “rid” also highlights the urgency and an issue that they need to deal with right now.
It’s easy to create a subject line like this, once against highlighting a problem the audience is facing:
Buy No Desk Until You’ve Seen This Sensation Of The Business Show
This is a very strong, stopper type of headline. It gives you a command, makes you want to listen to what the headline is saying. You can adopt this for many different industries, and your subject line would follow the idea of ‘don’t do this until you’ve done that’.
It gives your readers an incentive to want to look at what you have told them to, as it gives them the fear of missing out, implanting the idea that there is something better for them.
This is one of the best tactics you can use to interest people in what you are selling as opposed to other companies. Your subject lines that follow this kind of idea will have people eager to read your content.
For example, you could write something such as ‘don’t purchase this trend, until you have seen our latest designs’ or something along these lines.
Who Else Wants A Screen Star Figure?
An ad like this appeals to the reader who wants to be accepted. It provides a solution to a problem they think they have, giving them the chance to have a screen star figure rather than the one they have currently.
As well as this, the headline captures the emotions of the reader. It highlights their doubts, their uncertainties, and suggests that they are not alone. As such, this is going to appeal to a group identity and a group that they wanted to be connected with.
This can be used for many different purposes in different industries and still provide the same powerful message. If they have a problem, you have a solution.
They Grinned When The Waiter Spoke To Me In French - But Their Laughter Changed To Amazement At My Reply
This ad was written by Caples, to promote a method of learning a foreign language quickly, and without having to visit the country. At the time, learning a language was something that you could only do in school or when you went abroad, but with the method being advertised, this was no longer the case.
You can adapt this kind of headline to a subject line for an email, shortening it to something that is more snappy. The point here is that people were shocked the man knew how to speak French, having not studied in a classroom or overseas.
This type of subject line could be great for any language app, keeping the premise the same, but changing the words to suit your product.
Start using these headlines as inspiration for your own subject lines and you will be amazed at the results they could bring.