headlines[1]This morning got me thinking about the copywriting secrets that separate the pros from the rest of us.

  1. Testing everything
  2. Bullet Points
  3. Strong Headlines

My friend Thom Scott put out a tweet that mentioned the power of 3, 7 and 10 for making a list when you can’t think of what to blog. I had other plans, and replied that I ought to write a post about the Top 3 numbers… a catchy headline, but I meant it as a joke. I know he’s right though. I’ve tested it.

Next I saw “The Secret To Driving Blog Traffic” by Jason Falls How can you pass up a headline like that? Jason is right, I’ve tested headlines myself and nothing works better to increase readership.

From there I went to Google Reader.. where I have been practicing not reading all the 100’s of posts I get each day, but skimming for the best headlines and subjects, marketing them with a star and   cutting out 80% of the time it was taking to use Reader (my best source of inspiration, news and ideas)

The last 3 paragraphs are my story. A good story makes anything you write more readable and is much easier to write than the more boring non-fiction style we learned in school.

I took what I know, what I have tested, and a spark of inspiration to make a list of 3 very important items to share with you. I didn’t use bullet points.. I wanted to emphasize that TESTING beats the other two.

Put Bullet Points in Everything

Every letter, most emails, many of my blog posts and much of my conversations with people are based on bullet points. I use them to:

  • Emphasize the essence of the message
  • Visual stimulate you to keep reading
  • Group ideas together.

If you haven’t guessed, my favorite number is 3. I’ve tested longer bullet point lists, 3 is most readable..(except when you have a lot of info that has to be included)

Did You Like My Headline?

I didn’t spend 90% of my writing time on this headline.. but I did think about it for 2 hours before writing. It came from inspiration, so I need to test how it will go over with you.

If you liked this headline, the bullet points or the talk of testing, say so below in a comment. Let’s discuss what you’ve found. I’m sure that your results won’t be the same as mine.

I hope this is the start of a discussion, not the end point. Let’s all work together to make our books, blogs, information products and marketing more engaging and persuasive.

Are you with me?