Headlines

If the right fish ain't  bitin' the  bait you're flickin', change the bait ‘till the right biters bite.

As in, if you’re touching your prospects 6 – 8 times a year (and who wouldn’t want to do that?), change the bait every time you reach out to them.

General circulation newspaper editors are pro-FESS-ionals at this.  They rotate headlines daily to touch different readers. For example, the dominant headline with picture in  Saturday’s Boston Globe: “Golden Years for the Clintons.” I.e. speaking engagements and books = $9 million.  Headline 2:  “Big Dig Official’s Firing Led to Windfall.”   Two provocative entries from the “Undeserved Filthy Lucre” department.  Envy and resentment are hot sellers here in Boston..

Friday we had Headline 1: “For Book, It’s Patrick As Motivator, Marketer,” a ditty about our Massachusetts governor inking a $1.9 million contract to write self-help book, and Headline 2: “On the Attack at Fenway,” a hawk attacked a tourist at Fenway Park. Ah, she was probably a Yankees fan and she deserved the attention. She’s lucky the bird didn’t carry off one of her children. (Can you hear that said with a little bit of a brogue?)

The day before we had headline 1 with picture: “Life and Death Decisions,” about immigrant children, and “Mass. Leads Bid to Limit Greenhouse Emissions.”  The day before that, Headline 1 with picture, “The Ones That Got Away” about companies leaving Massachusetts, and Headline 2: “Mother, Teen Son Indicted in Killing.”

Day after day, the editors dangle their bait, touching our emotions so we BUY THE PAPER. If we’re writing letters or sending articles or emails to our prospects,  we need similarly strong headline “bait”  that speaks directly to  their deep emotions  – fear, envy, uncertainty, doubt, and fantasy, different each time we reach out to them. Our “bait”  headlines speak to the issues our products address or the benefits our products or services generate.

“Company jobs loss certain unless production costs reduced.”

“New loyalty program doubles customer retention.”

Sure, sure, and details at 11:00 pm. Each of our six to eight outreaches, whether phone, letter, or email, carries a different headline or subject line. The body of the  trailing message or letter pounds home the headline using the same “inverted pyramid” design that newspapers use.  A strong lead sentence, followed by appropriate facts, opinions, and calls to action.

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