Writing AD Headlines Guidelines

  • Show. Don’t tell. We’re about proving things to consumers with reasons to believe what we’re saying.
  • Write short sentences. Be brief. Cut unnecessary words.
  • Say it outright. To get started, write it the way you would say it. Take a subject. Add a verb. Leave out adverbs. Then tweak.
  • Use active voice and action verbs. The active voice makes it clear who is acting. The subject directly acts.
  • Be authentic. “Say what you mean, mean what you say. Keep your word.” Build trust.
    You can find a distinctive voice. Voice, tone, and style should reflect that brand’s values and attributes, not your style.
  • If it sounds like advertising, rewrite it.
  • Narrow the focus. Write to please the target audience only, not everyone. Know your audience, the culture, and cultural communities. Engage with your target audiences’ interests and people’s lifestyles, for example, sports, art, entertainment, or food.
  • Make it relatable. Seek insights into your audience’s perceptions and behaviors. Observe people. Research what the audience is saying on social media – practice social listening. Write like a person, not like artificial intelligence or a catalog of facts.
  • Be positive, not negative. Write what something is rather than what something isn’t.
  • Respect your audience. Break any of these rules except this one, whether you write or art direct.

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