I Used To Write Headlines Like This Until I Read It was not as effective...

21 replies
So I am fairly new to copywriting. I am learning quickly that I love it, though. I decided to pick up some of the "master's" books the other day, like Ogilvy on Advertising. I read through it in one night

I have been learning from EVERYONE online that:

The First Letter Of Each Word In A Headline Needs To Be Caplitalized.

Yet, Ogilvy thinks that this stunts the flow of the readers attention. He says it isn't the natural way of writing/reading and that a headline should just stand out through the font/size. So his would look like:

The first letter of each word in a headline does not need to be capitalized.


What are some of your thoughts on this matter?

As a newer copywriter, I tend to agree with Ogilvy.
#copywriting #effective #headlines #read #write
  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    You have to consider the CONTEXT from which Ogilvy wrote which
    was mainly for offline direct marketing and ad campaigns. Even
    Adwords experts would tell you that the CTR increases when you
    capitalize each word.

    Ogilvy is a classic advertiser but not everything he says applies
    online.

    Again, test for yourself and see.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Woody C
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      You have to consider the CONTEXT from which Ogilvy wrote which
      was mainly for offline direct marketing and ad campaigns. Even
      Adwords experts would tell you that the CTR increases when you
      capitalize each word.

      Ogilvy is a classic advertiser but not everything he says applies
      online.

      Again, test for yourself and see.

      -Ray Edwards
      I agree with the context of Ogilvy's advertising, but I was not speaking of PPC campaigns. I have tested a few Adwords ads and found the capitalization rule to be more effective.

      I was thinking more sales letters/website copy for the product or service. Is it really that different?
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  • Profile picture of the author IRON_STRONG
    I whole heartedly agree.

    the traditional sales letter is quickly going out the window. I shortened the copy, changed the formatting of my headlines and condensed the pages to more catalogue style copy and my conversion rate doubled.
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by IRON_STRONG View Post

      I whole heartedly agree.

      the traditional sales letter is quickly going out the window. I shortened the copy, changed the formatting of my headlines and condensed the pages to more catalogue style copy and my conversion rate doubled.

      Was this 1 letter or all your letters? You see my point. I'll need to
      see the BEFORE and AFTER versions of your letter before I come to
      such a definite conclusion in making a sweeping statement like this.

      You can find the "traditional sales letters" in Collier Letter Book
      published in 1937. I doubt they'll stop working anytime soon.

      I used the Adwords example because they are so short they can
      be looked at as headlines for your sales letters.

      -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
      Originally Posted by IRON_STRONG View Post

      I whole heartedly agree.

      the traditional sales letter is quickly going out the window. I shortened the copy, changed the formatting of my headlines and condensed the pages to more catalogue style copy and my conversion rate doubled.
      I'm always wondering if copy is too long. Personally, if I come to a page that is 15 pages of copy I click away....

      some will say that I wasn't the intended customer but I disagree.

      Sometimes the presentation puts otherwise willing buyers off.
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      • Profile picture of the author Raydal
        Originally Posted by Kevin AKA Hubcap View Post

        I'm always wondering if copy is too long. Personally, if I come to a page that is 15 pages of copy I click away....

        some will say that I wasn't the intended customer but I disagree.

        Sometimes the presentation puts otherwise willing buyers off.

        The trick is not to make 15 pages look like 15 pages and it can be done.
        Formatting and layout has a lot to do with this. Note how adult books
        have less pictures than children books? I wonder why?

        Children need a break from long text because of short attention spans.
        Well, you have to think "children" when writing long sales letters.

        "Fine print" docs are usually written that way because 'they' don't want
        you to read them. Again, layout, print, design are all important.

        And there is a 25 page sales letter you would read. The headline is

        "This Letter Is All About [YOUR NAME GOES HERE]!

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    • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
      Joshua - long copy is not necessarily best applicable for all applications.

      Perhaps the reason why these changes work better for you is because long copy does not work for YOUR market?

      So it's not an issue of "the traditional sales letter is quickly going out the window", it's an issue of what works best for each type of audience.

      Originally Posted by IRON_STRONG View Post


      the traditional sales letter is quickly going out the window. I shortened the copy, changed the formatting of my headlines and condensed the pages to more catalogue style copy and my conversion rate doubled.
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  • Profile picture of the author IRON_STRONG
    @ ray, using camel casing in adwords headlines and on sales letters and pages is alot different IMO
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  • Profile picture of the author IRON_STRONG
    well by traditional i meant the sales letter that is used by most people in this industry today. you know, 30 pages long, big fat camel cased headline, bolded subhead, intro from the desk of blah blah blah.

    look at the most successful letters in history... The Coat of Arsm letter, and the walstreet journal letter... you really hink its just luck they worked so well or it was just the "market"

    I think copy writers put too much empahsis on the fluff and formatting and "steps" when I stopped listening to copywriters about my sales letters and just asked my customers what they liked and used the passion i have for my business, my marketing didn't just look better and WAY more professional, it worked better.
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by IRON_STRONG View Post

      well by traditional i meant the sales letter that is used by most people in this industry today. you know, 30 pages long, big fat camel cased headline, bolded subhead, intro from the desk of blah blah blah.
      I added a new word to my vocabulary today, thanks!

      -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by IRON_STRONG View Post

      look at the most successful letters in history... The Coat of Arsm letter, and the walstreet journal letter... you really hink its just luck they worked so well or it was just the "market"
      Luck had little to do with it.

      The Coat of Arms letter was written to sound like a friendly personal letter from Gary's wife. That means no headlines or any of the other traditional elements you'd find in an AD or SALESLETTER. Because if it had, then the reader would have immediately dismissed it as a personal letter.

      Do a Google search if you don't have a copy of it and you'll see what I mean.

      I think copy writers put too much empahsis on the fluff and formatting and "steps" when I stopped listening to copywriters about my sales letters and just asked my customers what they liked and used the passion i have for my business, my marketing didn't just look better and WAY more professional, it worked better.
      Some do... truth is, the sales copy is the 3rd most important part after proper targeting of prospects and making the right offer. Nail all three and you have a home run marketing piece on your hands.

      Copywriters probably aren't your customers... not unless they are into personal training and fitness or have written copy for that niche before.

      No one copywriter, living or dead, has ever hit a home run everytime. Every copywriter has struck out, sometimes written something that outright bombed.

      I think the bigger issue is taking advice from others as the "stone cold truth". The reality is, you won't know with 100% certainty until you test the advice you've been given. What works in one niche can outright bomb in another.

      Take care,

      Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author IRON_STRONG
    Oh and back when fast food was first created no one wanted to invest in it because "no one would ever just want to eat and run" "eating was a time for family" times are changing, and a new generation is entering the market palce, one that doest have time for long drawn out pages of text. they want entertainment, and they want to know the facts straight up with no BS included.

    look at mcdonalds now, ray crock saw the changing world and adapted to it. he offered soemthing everyone in the industry said would never be.

    hell my grand mother has a blackberry, she doesnt even have time to read one of those things. AND thats why my grandfather also reads the walstreet journal. and IMO its takes more skill, passion, and knowledge about a product or service to get your message across without BS.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bigsofty
    A headline has many tasks to perform. Typically it will be a promise or statement and as such the capitals add a weight to the words that's missing with plain typing.

    These Are Some Heavy Words!

    These are some heavy words!


    Which hit harder?



    B.
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  • Profile picture of the author ramohr
    From my experience people want to be educated and want you
    to build a relationship with them in your copy. Before they read your
    copy however your headline must be hype free.

    I studied the classics, I've been to Jay Abraham's home and studied at his feet
    and I've been to Halbert's seminars.
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  • Profile picture of the author stephenh
    I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that the most well paid type of writing was ransom notes :0.

    Stephen
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  • Profile picture of the author stephenh
    It depends on what they have set in their minds as authority print. Older readers who have a background of newspaper and magazine look for what they grew up.

    These days I guess that is why video is so big.

    Stephen
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  • Profile picture of the author Article Writer
    Capitalizing the first letter of words works and it is a Rock Solid Truth in Adwords.
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  • Profile picture of the author WealthBluePrint
    I used to capitalize every word as well, I've been making a habit of not doing that anymore
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  • Profile picture of the author mccflo99
    Test both, find out which makes the most cash and you'll have your answer.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author TuesdayB
    Hi everyone I used to write that way too, (book title format) but then I started noticing more and more material on the net are using normal formats instead. I guess if your format distracts from your message (if it looks to busy or unprofessional) either format will not work at all.

    @Stephen your ransom note joke is hilarious LOL.
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  • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
    IMO I disagree when it comes to online and even other applications.

    Examine the mechanics of what a headline is supposed to accomplish in the first place and you might agree with me...

    A headline is simply in place to attract the readers attention and get them to read further on.

    The "stunted" look of having capital letters in the first letter of every word is a different look by far from how a normal sentence is written in the rest of the copy.

    Since it has such a different appearance from any of the rest of the copy (subheads aside) it is there to help POP out at the reader and attract their attention

    I think that the reason why CTR is higher with adwords is because of this ability to POP out hence a greater effectiveness rate - and don't we all want to be more effective?


    Originally Posted by maverickwec View Post

    Yet, Ogilvy thinks that this stunts the flow of the readers attention. He says it isn't the natural way of writing/reading and that a headline should just stand out through the font/size. So his would look like:
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