From Haiku to Headline: Learn To Write Concise And Powerful Ads

    March 12, 2003

Writing a good ad that captures the attention of the reader is an art. Your ad and especially the headline should be compelling and strong in order to persuade the reader to a greater interest in what you are offering. In other words: to distinguish yourself from your competitors you have to be creative. Learning how to write a Haiku, a very short Japanes poem, can help you to accomplish this.

1. The ad
There are severals ways to bring visitors to your web site. One more effective than the other. A very effective way is to advertise your business using ads in ezines. An ad can be very successful if it is well written and when it has a good headline. A good headline is a headline that is compelling to the reader. It must tell the reader there is something in for him and it must be true. Use powerful words like Discover, You, Proven, Free, New etc. Asking a question in the headline like “How You Can Make A Fortune With A Breakthrough Concept?” is a proven technique. Offering something for free like “Free Ebook Tells You 8 Secrets Of Losing 20 Pounds In 2 Months” as well. Questions and offers like these grab the attention of your readers. They decide to read the whole ad and that is exactly what you want to achieve. The headline is the most important part of the ad. In the body you give information about your product in order to tickle your reader’s interests in your product. It is not absolutely necessary that the reader decides to make a sale now. If the reader decides to act like asking for more information or a free report, visiting your web site, you are well on your way to make a sale later.

2. Concise
An ad in an ezine is mostly very short. With a few lines you have to draw the attention of the reader (the headline), give information about your product(the body) and ask the reader to act(the conclusion). These three elements have to be combined in four, five or six lines. This is where the difficult part of writing a killer ad starts. How do you transform your general idea about the way you want to give information and sell your product to your prospects in a few concise and very compelling lines? You have to go from general to specific, from great to small, from a hazy notion to a clear concept. There are people who are very good in this skill, people who have a talent; some even made a profession of it. But how about you and me, the ordinary internet businessman and woman who don’t have a natural talent for writing but still want to produce a very good ad for an ezine? The skill can be mastered with a lot of patience and excercise. On the internet you find many tutorials and ebooks about this subject.

3. The Haiku
You have to be very creative to write a good ad and especially a catching headline. Every day thousands of ads are being published. If you want your ad to be noticed by visitors you have to be different. And being different requires creativity. Ad writing is an art, so why not turn an art to practice? An exponent of Japanese literature is the Haiku, a very short poem. It has mostly three lines and a total of 17 syllables; five in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third. A Haiku has mostly a great and overwhelming experience in nature as a subject. The art is to catch this overwhelming experience in only three lines and seventeen syllables. I started writing Haiku’s as a hobby in order to arrange my thoughts and ideas when I had to write a memo or note (or bigger pieces in writing) for my work. They were all in Dutch and impossible to translate. To give you an idea what I am talking about, here is an example of Kijo Murakami(1865-1938).

“First autumn morning: the mirror I stare into shows my father’s face”.

The author had two thoughts: the first one is autumn, the end of the year is approaching and it turns old. The second one is when he looks into the mirror and sees that he is getting old himself as well.

Training myself in writing Haiku’s was one of the methods I used to improve my writing skills and to make a short and concise written piece without losing the essence of the matter.

Ad writing is an art but can be learned. Using the ancient techniques of writing Haiku’s contributes to accomplish a high skill in the fascinating world of ad writing.

Joop Liefaard uses his experience as a human resources manager to help small business owners to better organize themselves and their enterprises. Visit his website at, for information about three successful programs and resources, including his Eagleye’s BizOpps Newsletter, that can help you.