are two before and after examples to show you what works and why in a teaser,
along with 5 tips.
Article title: Old friends can be best funding sources
He thought ace salesmanship would make his new company go. But he
found out marketing without money didn't work. Here's how he found the
funding to succeed...
Former star salesman Gerry Sullivan quadrupled revenues for his old
company from $28 million to $118 million. But he didn't have the same
knack when it came to raising money for his family-owned petrochemical
startup. Then he turned to an entrepreneur's proven fallback for
funding - family & friends. Find out how he secured close to half
a million with only a handshake...
teaser makes you want to read on? What's the difference? Thanks to BizJournals.com
above for letting me mess with their copy.
The before & after rewrite above illustrates a few of the key ingredients
of a good teaser. It should include:
specific and relevant details (a name, an occupation)
- actual dollar amounts (if available)
- a twist or unexpected comparison (in this case; he was a successful salesman
but couldn't raise money for his startup through a traditional bank loan)
The intro should
set the scene so you want to read on. Here's another example, using a teaser I
wrote for a WordBiz Report article on "online marketing tips from an
Article title: Great Web & email copywriting tips from an
[from Oct. 9, 2002 issue of WordBiz Report]
Donna Baier Stein is a direct response copywriter who has written a
book and gives frequent seminars. Here are her tips for how to write
sales copy for the Web and email...
I asked Donna Baier Stein to distill from her classic book on
copywriting, Write on Target, how offline direct
marketing best practices can be translated to writing sales copy for
the Web and email. Stein said she starts an assignment, offline or on,
by posing four questions.
- What am I selling
- To whom am I selling it?
- Why am I selling this now?
- What do I want the reader to do?
straightforward, but wait till you hear her answers...
I didn't actually
use the "before" teaser in the example above. But that's what I
started with in my head. I had to force myself to come up with some specifics
and an element of drama to make this teaser work. Notice how I added a
"kicker" at the end. "It sounds straightforward... but it's
not." This intro got a high click-through.
in this case means an intro with that extra something, a dollop of intrigue, a
bit of suspense. These attributes are key and you usually have to give
something away in order to create them.
how I included the following sentence in the
teaser for this article:
reveal a choice tidbit or two in those first 50 to 100 words... "
It may seem counterintuitive but this is as an essential part of the intro.
Why? I'm offering a taste of the specific tips the reader can get by clicking
Handley's Formula For Writing Teasers
checked in with one of my favorite editors, Ann Handley, to see what her
formula is. Ann was co-founder of ClickZ
and is now chief content officer of MarketingProfs.com.
Every week she writes six to eight short (50 words or less) teaser blurbs for
MarketingProfs' e-newsletter. Here's her formula:
is key but I don't actually use the word sex (well, not very
often). By sexy I don't mean sexual. I mean fun, interesting,
intriguing, compelling. It's called a teaser for a reason.
line: A teaser should be lively. That's how it should be
written. But what should it say? The pieces we run on
MarketingProfs are often solving a business problem or giving advice.
There's usually an issue at hand that the author is resolving in the
I play it pretty straight - talking directly to the reader, maybe
recalling their pain. "Here's the problem. Do you have this
problem, too? It sucks, huh? Then you gotta read this piece."
Obviously, you don't want to reveal the solution in the teaser. They
must read the whole well-written, well-thought-out, well-articulated
piece for THAT!
a teaser should be truthful. Don't promise what you can't deliver.
Keep it short. A few sentences, tops. You want to entice, not
Ann Handley, chief content officer,
Tips To Write Compelling Teasers
recap five specific tips to write can't-resist teasers and increase your
click-throughs to the full article:
explained above, this may seem counterintuitive. You have to reveal enough
information to make the reader long for more of the same.
dollar amounts, numbers, specific sizes. Generally, bigger is better.
2) Give away a choice tidbit
just enough of the story - and make it intriguing - that the reader begs for
3) Use a twist
This is my secret ingredient to a successful teaser. It means to
"invert" the expected outcome. It's a classic device in newspaper
journalism. And it works just as well online.
Apply the gotta know test
This is key. Ann Handley nails it above. Your article has to address a
pressing business problem and offer a solution. Back out of that and into your
teaser. Now you're dangling a tidbit that leads to something the reader has
just gotta know.
Cut and cut again