Headline Secrets from the "Kick-Ass" Copywriting, Guitar Playing, Rock-Star Rebel "With" a Cause

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It’s time for my morning dose of copywriting muscle memory practice.

It’s day 3 of a month focusing on writing great Headlines.

Today we get a dose of right-between-the-eyes truth from the Rebel himself, John Carlton.

Not only is Carlton one of the Classic old-school copywriters left on the planet, he’s also a fine musician. He plays the guitar and has been in rock and blues bands most of his adult life. One of my favorite teachings of his is using lyricism in your copy. That resonates deeply with me.

In his fantastic book, “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel,” he lays down the law.

If you don’t have this one, I HIGHLY recommend it. As you’ll quickly find out, Carlton doesn’t beat around the bush.

He is the most ripped off copywriter in the industry. His headlines are SO good, people simply can’t help but want to swipe them and use them in their own ads.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

How Does an Out-Of-Shape 55 Year-Old Golfer, Crippled By Arthritis & 71 Lbs. Overweight, Still Consistently Humiliate PGA Pros In Head-To-Head Matches by Hitting Every Tee Shot
Further And Straighter Down The Fairway?

World Famous Street-Fighter Will Give You A FREE GUN…
Just To Prove He Can Take It Away From You Bare-Handed As Easy As Candy From A Baby!

Yowza! Don’t those babies brag you by the eyeballs?!

If you’d like to read these ads and add them to your swipe file, you can find them at http://swiped.co/. Just enter “John Carlton” in the search box and they’ll come right up.

From the Horse’s Ass… I Mean… Mouth…

In his “Kick-Ass” book, here are a few slices of from the chapter on writing Headlines.

“Your reader hasn’t go the time — or the inclination — to stare at your ad and try to figure out what the hell you’re trying to say. He won’t do it. Readers scan even the important stuff in what they read. (I almost threw away a recent bill from the cable company they’d cleverly disguised as a solicitation on first glance.)

“And readers absolutely fly by the junk mail and obvious advertisement they see.

“It’s your job to stop them like Wile E. Coyote running into a brick wall the Roadrunner painted to look like the sky. Wham!

“And you do that by using trigger words that tap into their passion. Your headline must deliver either:

  1. News that affects your prospects directly… (“How To Use The New Laws To Lower Your Property Taxes By Half.”)…

  2. A spectacular benefit that jars them out of their stupor… (“New Herbal Pill Instantly Makes You Look 10 Years Younger!”)… or…

  3. Arouse such burning curiosity that they cannot continue with their lives until they’ve read your message. (“Why Does This Hacker Smile Every Time You Do Business On-Line?”)

“It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks about your ad. You shouldn’t care if NO ONE outside your target audience even glances at your ad (and this includes the client and other copywriters). You’re not after them. You’re after you…

Prime Targets!

“This may crimp you “creativity” … but it will sure increase sales. Have eyes ONLY for your potential customer, and know that you will never be dull when you’re addressing what is important to him.”

This stuff applies to all kinds of ad writing. And yes, it applies to you and your Product Launch too. Without a headline that sings in sultry tones to you tune your prime targets are tapping, you’re lost!

I’m working on a promotion now in my Church Music business. It’s for a training course, “Dr. Pew’s Hymn Writing Apprenticeship Program.”

I’ve been writing all sorts of possible headlines out, working to craft some winners. I’m going to go back and make sure I include the 3 important points Carlton makes. The news, the spectacular benefit, and the burning curiosity. Up until now I’ve been doing the first one pretty good. I need to up my game on the 2nd and 3rd.

More great headline advice tomorrow. This time, from the most revered and reverenced copywriter of the last 50 years. Even his enemies can’t help reading his ads, they’re that good!

May your copy be ever melodic and harmonious!

Doug

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