Instead of employing a few clever words that point back to body copy, headlines should carry the messaging and bold attitude of the brand themselves. That is why we often use declarative statements as headers. So, instead of saying “Scholarships & Financial Aid,” which is descriptive and accurate, consider saying “That future that you want for yourself — for the world, is attainable.” The latter conveys that financial aid is available while tapping into a bigger aspirational drive in students.

Keep it overt

One debacle we often face in University Marketing is how overt to be with our words. The key thing to remember is that we may be inundated in our messaging, but our audiences are not. The old adage applies — it takes seven impressions to make a customer. So be BOLD! Don’t waste your headlines on dry, informational tidbits or cheesy soundbites that don’t convey the number one thing you want your audiences to know.

We’ve been practicing this principle on the OSU homepage:

  1. Oregon State is a top 1 percent university in the world. We teach big, we think big, and it shows.
    • Message: world-leading research expertise and academic teaching
  2. Wherever you come from, your story matters. Jeong-Bin Kim discovered a welcoming, diverse community a world away from South Korea.
    • Message: a sense of belonging in a community that values diversity and inclusion
  3. Your stage could be anywhere. Bard in the Quad is part of the vibrant arts tradition at Oregon State.
    • Message: an environment that encourages creative experimentation

Keep it intriguing

Our students and faculty are doing great things at Oregon State. Don’t be afraid to brag on them, in language that everyone understands. Ask yourself, would I want to click on this story or read this ad?

  • Welcome to astrophysist Davide Lazzati’s lab, where cosmic explosions and black holes are the center of inquiry.
  • Our ideas stand on their own. MEET CASSIE.
  • Setting a record makes us want to do one thing, break it.

Keep it short

Yes, it’s a challenge with statement-like headlines, but so important. Readers have short attention spans and are often looking at text on mobile devices. Spend a few extra minutes cutting words and tailoring the headline to the medium.

  • This is how we do HOME in Beaver Nation.
  • You won’t miss your mom’s cooking (much).
  • The state of Oregon is our campus.

Happy headlining!

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