Headlines matter now more than they ever did.
Headlines provoke and introduce. They cajole and they position.
No headline, no communication.
This spreadsheet you just sent me… what does it say? What does it mean? It has no headline. Trashed.
That person you met at a conference: What’s his headline? Are you actually going to spend ten minutes with him before you determine whether or not he’s interesting enough to talk with? Of course not. No headline, no communication.
You can have sub-headlines
The great direct mail copywriter Joe Sugarman taught me this. Every ad had a headline, and so did every paragraph. If the paragraph didn’t warrant a headline, it didn’t go in the ad.
This might be a shame
I’m not saying that headline-world is the place we want to or should live in. I’m merely saying that we do live there, and if you want to communicate (your resume, your trustworthiness, your graciousness) you need to be sure your headline is compelling, accurate and a viable foundation to the message you’re ultimately trying to send. (That last one is very important. Just because it gets you newsstand sales doesn’t mean it’s a headline you want to live with.)
Headlines don’t always look like headlines, of course. That outfit you wore to work today is quite a headline, bub. Headlines may not look like they belong in a newspaper, but they always work that way. Now or never.