Have you ever read a headline that just blew you away? The kind that sticks in your head. The kind you compare all headlines to. Throughout the over 40 years we’ve focused on health care advertising and marketing, we’ve run across several that have stood above the rest for us. Some we’ve written ourselves and some have been the brainchild of other advertising agencies.

 

The importance of great headlines

We know the goal of any headline is to grab a reader’s attention. But we also want our reader to consume, enjoy and even act on whatever we write. Your headline can either draw your reader in or send them on their way. Here’s a fact: only 2 out of 10 people read beyond the headline. Think about your reading habits. How many times do you read beyond the headline?

Even if the rest of your content is spectacular, it won’t get read if your headline isn’t spot-on.

 

Here are some spot-on headlines we’ve written (in our opinion)

The best headline we’ve ever written for a cancer center is simple, emotional and says it all:

Life. Cancer. Life.

Here’s one for a primary care campaign. There were several life-stage questions in the series in italics, all followed by the bolder headline.

Turning 40?  We’ve got a doctor for that.

Here’s another approach to primary care. This time we wanted to demonstrate the importance of having a relationship with your primary care physician.

Tom never eats breakfast.  Dr. Carl Magnuson knows that.

We’ve created our share of tongue-in-cheek headlines. The samples here are from an urgent care campaign and a flu shot campaign.

OPEN holidays.  Because strep throat doesn’t know it’s Easter.

Beating the flu can be easy, give it a shot.

Another simple and clear headline for obstetric services.

Oh Baby.  Maybe.

Here’s one to encourage people to schedule their colonoscopy.

Over 50? So’s your colon.

And another we used for an ad in a men’s bathroom to encourage being screened for prostate cancer.

You again?

Spot-on headlines others have written

I asked my colleagues at Hailey Sault to share the health care headlines that have stood above the rest for them. Many of the headlines they sent my way were from Mt. Sinai Hospital’s campaigns throughout the years. Some standouts included:

“We turned a child who couldn’t hear into a typical 2-year-old who doesn’t listen.”

“Amazing. How many hearts are saved by just treating one.”

“You’ve just found out you have breast cancer. Let’s start by removing the lump in your throat.”

“A doctor, a robot, and a comedian walk into a hospital. Trust us, you haven’t heard this one before.”

 

Headlines are everywhere

You’ll find them in:

  • The subject lines of your email
  • Blog posts
  • Banners on homepages
  • Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts
  • Site titles for organic and paid search results
  • Billboards
  • Print ads

With just 2 out of 10 people reading beyond the headline, our marketing efforts have no chance to succeed without great headlines.

 

5 tips to consider the next time you’re writing a headline:

  1. Brainstorm … brainstorm … and brainstorm again.
  2. Think about what matters most to your audience.
  3. Excite your reader—don’t be afraid to break convention or be a little weird.
  4. Demonstrate value—why is your copy worth reading, why should someone go beyond your headline.
  5. Oh, and don’t forget search—use those keywords when possible.

You knew I was going to ask it, and I really care: what are some of your favorite headlines? Send them along.