Headline Increases Response Rate 728%?

Copywriting — By

It’s true. A powerful headline is THE most impactful element of your entire content. Create the right one and your response could double, triple, be even seven times greater!

The headline is the gateway to the rest of your content, message and story. Without a compelling headline, your press release, article, blog post, ad or direct marketing piece will fade into oblivion.

So what does it take to make your headline stand out amongst the competition?

When I worked as a copywriter at one of the country’s leading ad agencies (The Richards Group) it was not uncommon for me to write hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of headlines for a single ad.

And the reason is simple. The headline is the bridge to the rest of the story. IF THE HEADLINE FAILS, THE MESSAGE GOES UNSEEN. END OF STORY.

And that’s true whether it’s an ad, a brochure, a billboard, and YES, a press release.

The most important objective of a headline is…


To get the prospect to read the next line!

And the job of the second line is to get the prospect to read the third line. And so forth.

10 Success Traits of Winning Headlines:


Here are 10 powerful attributes of successful headlines. Try and get one or more into your headline and you’ll see an immediate improvement.

  1. Stimulates curiosity or interest
  2. Challenges a widely held belief
  3. Creates controversy
  4. Provides a benefit
  5. References or “piggybacks” on a current event
  6. Is in sync or ahead of the curve of popular culture
  7. Provokes or elicits an emotional response
  8. Helps simplify decision making (and reduce overwhelm)
  9. Tells ONLY part of the story
  10. Rewards the intelligence and interest of the reader

Now that you have 10 positives a headline should trigger, what about the flip side, the negative elements to avoid? I have 3 common headline blunders to share via a 2-minute video. Give it a look.


What can you add to our headline discussion? Share you thoughts in the comments below.



  • Well said, Marc. You nailed it.
    In a conversation with Chris Maddock (one of the best writers I’ve ever known), we addressed headlines. he said “until you’ve written 100 headlines for your next X, you haven’t tapped the soul of the message”.

    I rarely write 100. But 20-30 are where I see the real rock-star message come through.

    And it’s fun. Like doodling. But with words.

    Thanks for the important message this fine Wednesday.

  • Marc Harty says:

    Hey Mark,

    Great to hear from you and thanks for the quick response! I love the thought of “tapping the soul of the message.”

    And your absolute right. Thanks for adding to the conversation. I look forward to our next conversation, hopefully sometime soon.

    ~ Marc

  • I’ll ping you and set a time. A REAL time. Got some great stuff to share, and would love your insights within the pages…

  • Edwin Ryan says:

    Thanks Marc,

    I’ll re-tweet and share this on Facebook.

    This is very helpful also in our social media age to get
    clicks on tweets and posts, do you agree?

    Haven’t tried writing 100 headlines for a copy project,
    I do only 20-40 before I stop and test 🙂

    When you write hundreds of headlines, do you use your swipefile?

    -Edwin Ryan
    The “JV Guerrilla”

  • Marc Harty says:


    Let’s do it! Ball officially in your court…

  • Marc Harty says:

    Hi Edwin,

    Thanks for your feedback. And yes, I agree about the
    viral capabilities via social media.

    When I do write 100+ headlines, I use a variety of
    tools and resources: swipe files, do a lot of “headline
    surfing” via Digg, Alltop and Popurls. I also use a tool
    that scores headlines as you write them.

    ~ Marc

  • Jscoppa says:

    Thanks for sharing your expertise on headline writing. A mentor has recently been pushing me to work more on headlines….and it is the hardest part! I will be reviewing your success traits regularly to help keep me on track!

  • Marc Harty says:

    Thanks for your comment. I am passionate about headlines because I see the difference the right one makes.

    Keep at it and this won’t be the last article you see about headlines. Far from it!

    ~ Marc

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