It is never easy to create a good headline. But that does not mean we should put several in one ad, with the hope that one of them will work. Here’s a recent ad from CleanSkies.org.
On top is the headline: American Natural Gas. Alternative Thinking at Its Best. Then there is the line under the logo in the middle of the page, “American Clean Skies Foundation. Followed by this thought: Clean, American natural gas can power our nation for the next 100 years. And then a bold subhead, “It just needs you.” Next, after the copy block, comes, Clean. Affordable. Abundant. American. And finally, the last word: Get involved at CleanSkies.org.
That makes four or five lines, none particularly informative or compelling, but unquestionably well scattered around the page. Some are in blue, some in black, and each has a font of its own. And while some use upper and lower case, others feature all caps. There is a decent amount of white space, but it still seems cluttered, certainly with competing ideas. Do they want to convince me that natural gas is a wonderful energy source, or do they want to enroll me as an involved American?
When you find a headline you like, use it. And maybe your other choices will lead you to wonderful body copy, or bullet points. But never throw a bunch of lines on the page in the hopes one will stick. When all your lines are in a fight for attention, there is no winner.
I will admit there are times when two lines are better than one. For instance, if your headline seems to go on forever, as in, (full disclosure, this is an actual headline from a Cablevision ad): “Scripps Networks says they care about their viewers, but what they really care about is money,” then go ahead and put a period in, rather than a comma. But even better is to find a crisper way to say what you want to say.What do you think?