How to Write Great Headlines For Your School

The web is changing for both parents and schools. Parents no longer read and learn by going from one site to another. Instead, they get information pushed to them via their own curated online channels—be it text messages, emails, their Facebook feed, etc.

Social media is driving more parent engagement than ever before.

To get more parents to notice you in the Facebook feed, you need useful content, a great ad design, accurate targeting but above all an attention-grabbing headline.

The best headlines are crafted with one and only one big idea in mind.
They create a “curiosity gap” to pique parents' interest.
They provide just enough information to entice the parent without giving away the whole argument.

A good headline is crucial because it is your first point of connection with your prospective parent.
The headline will make the mother or father decide whether to hear you out and how much time to give you.

Like the 'Father of Advertising' David Ogilvy told us: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy” (perhaps the most over-cited quote in marketing, but it’s a good one).

You don’t have to go crazy with hundreds of different ways to capture your prospect’s attention. Here are a few more specific tactics to work with:

You don’t have to go crazy with hundreds of different ways to capture your prospect’s attention. Here are a few more specific tactics to work with:

1. Use Word Pictures
Visual writing brings your copy to life, taking it from vague and dry to tangible and emotional.
Consider these two sentences:
- "Our students are engaged and happy to come to school every day."
- “Every afternoon our students jump off the bus cheerful and confident, and their mothers smile with a slow lift of the lips, their eyes sparkle, the corners of their eyes crinkle."

2. Use Epiphany Writing
Focus on surprising your audience rather than state the obvious.
“I never thought it would happen, but...", your copy should complete this statement.

3. It's All About The Benefits
Cram at least 2 benefits into each headline you write.
For example, I just received an email with this subject line, which I quickly acted on: "Webcast with Tom Vander Ark on 5/22: Space is Limited!"

4. Be Paradoxical or Juxtapose 2 Ideas
A great way to do this is by using the following sentences: "How to ...BIG BENEFIT... without ...PAIN/HASSLE/COST etc.".
For a charter school, this would be "How to get a private school education, without paying private school tuition."
For a private school, it could go: "Help your child conquer the world, without sacrificing her joy, friendships, and wellbeing."

5. Be Controversial and Go Big
Parents have heard and read it all. Generic ideas won't cut it.
When you say something counter to received wisdom, parents pay attention.
But how will you actually come up with those ideas?
Follow influencers on Twitter, curate your own news aggregator, subscribe to interesting newsletters, get alerts on important educational topics using Google Alerts and check interesting trends in education using Google Trends.