If you’ve spent any time whatsoever reading and learning effective copywriting – whether in business or politics – you know that the most important aspect of any communication (fundraising letter, press release, op/ed, etc.) is the headline.
Very FEW candidates have any idea how important pre-headlines and headlines, followed by a powerful opening sentence, are to communications success. Here’s one approach as recommended by marketing guru Dan Kennedy:
1.) The primary headline should “best telegraph the promise of the benefit.” The benefit being what benefit the reader receives if he or she supports your campaign or contributes to your campaign or volunteers to work on your campaign.
2.) The pre-headline should either raise fear of your opponent or promise to solve a problem by supporting your campaign.
3.) The first sentence needs to “sell” the recipient on reading the rest of the letter.
All three are CRITICAL to making enough of an immediate first impression to move readers “from Attention to Interest.”
If your headlines, sub-headlines and opening sentences don’t grab your target audience by the throat and darn-near force them to read the entire message…well, they won’t read your entire message, let alone take the action you want them to take in your message.
Remember, most people don’t read every story in a newspaper or magazine. They read the headline to see if the story *might* interest them. If so, they’ll read the first sentence of the first paragraph to confirm their interest. If you don’t grab them right then and there, they’ll move on to the next story.
Ditto your campaign communications. So take VERY seriously your headlines and subject lines.