Win Free Sex! – Taking a Tip from the Tabloids

Win Free Sex! – Taking a Tip from the Tabloids
Kate Headen Waddell - Tue Sep 29, 2009 @ 03:14AM
Comments: 14

Read all about itSo I am having trouble confirming if this is actually a true story or not, but the legend goes that a tabloid editor, eager for more readers, tested which words in the main headline would sell the most papers. The top three were -you guessed it - “Win,” “Free,” and “Sex.” Of course the editor immediately strung the three words together for the next day’s headline and broke a sales record for the paper.

What does this mean for today’s savvy marketer? There are a few lessons we can take away from this story:

1 – Grab their attention

There is nothing that will sink you faster than a boring headline. You could solve world hunger but if you title the article "Principles of increased food production in third-world arid climates and its ramifications on food supply" very few people will read it. Lead with the solution to the pain - nothing sells better than pain relief. 

2 – Follow through on your promises

It’s okay to be a little shameless; you should stretch yourself to come up with something that will really grab eyeballs. But while Win Free Sex is very attention grabbing, you have to have the free sex contest to back it up. Consumers are used to, and even expect, ridiculous puffery, but businesses tend to hold you to your promises – and you won’t get very far if you don’t. Saying things like “leading solution provider,” and “dramatically lowers costs” are pretty boring and they won’t get you very far if you can’t back it up with some proof points.

3 – Test your message

Even if you spent a great deal of time testing and selecting your keywords, offers, and messaging, you can’t just rest on your laurels. Do you think the tabloid editor would sell as many papers if he ran the exact same headline the next day? Your audience’s needs and opinions are constantly changing – you need to make sure you keep up.

Written any good headlines latey? Come across any particularly bad ones? Share your stories in the comments section...

Comments: 14

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