Work Samples – Writing killer home page headlines

I spent several years refining the art and science of the home page headline at Microsoft.com. Some of these approaches may seem commonplace today, but they were quite original at the time they were published. These are just a few of the many thousands of headlines that I wrote:

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The key to good headline writing is to have a clear call to action in mind, the more immediate the better! Then think about what the customer wants to get out of the transaction. This generally requires both research (I often spoke to key players to gain insight) and customer empathy (really get inside a particular audience’s head).

You may write a dozen headlines that you toss out before you hit that winning concept. It’s also important to track clickthrough data (and, if you can, end actions) to see what performs well and analyze why. This feeds a cycle that can really improve your headline writing over time, particularly if you’re addressing multiple audience segments – as I was here. Over time, I really learned what each segment responded to and used that to shape my headlines.

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