How to write an advertisement lead that sells

With the Careers Coach

In Zimbabwe, all those who were in their middle ages in the 80s, could tell you of the radio programme by Lazarus Tembo ‘The Jarzin Man’ the programme made waves in the country to the extent of making some think that the sop was as big as today’s Wal-Mart in the US, or SA’s Pick ‘n’ Pay, but it wasn’t in fact that big.

The other prominent radio programme that made waves was the one called ‘mari ne hupenyu hwevanhu’ translated ‘money and people’s lives.’ This one was a life assurance programme by Paul Mukondo, it brought the sense of; and importance of life assurance to many Zimbabweans.

That was the power of advertising. For some if not all businesses small or big, advertising is an integral part, it is important as paying bills, it not an after-thought, but a heartbeat just as important as accounting.

While the key to effective advertising is consistency and repeat exposure, that being so, the other integral part in making an effective advert is the headline.

In the art of journalism, it is said a picture is worth a thousand words, it tells the story, so is the headline of a story, more so, also important is the headline in every advertisement, it is the one that sells the product.


The headline of the advertisement should be clear, to the point, and should highlight the solution to the problem. It should appeal to the intended audience, and they should be mentioned by name. For instance if your advert is meant for young men or ladies; advert should bear those names in the headline. Due diligence should be taken not to exclude other prospective buyers, by swaying too much to the initially intended audiences only, but had to present room to other buyers too.

Stir interest

The headline should be to the point in expressing the benefit, it has or it promises to the users of the product(s). Adverts that are meant to help students understand and pass examination should be clear in selling that idea. ‘Terms like passing Chemistry made easy,’ pass English in one go.’ The benefit should not be hidden in the body, but be prominent in the headline.

The news

The advertisement should offer something different; it should offer something new, or a better way of performance. Consumers are always on the lookout of new things, new products, new benefits, or new ways of effectively use old things, and advertisements should offer such slants.

The body

Once the headline has created an interest and the appetite in the mind of the reader to go on, the body of the advertisement should grab him or her by the throat, right from the onset, from the lead to the last word of the last sentence. There is need to employ the economic use of words, where one word can do, do not use two.

The body should present the relevant information, never lie in the advertisement, present the truth in a convincing way, that way, you will be able to achieve your aim. The main aim of adverts is to influence buyers’ option, interest in the product, and to respond in guided way or behaviour.

The medium

This is the channel/ media, to be used, and careful thought could be taken in considering the medium to be used in relaying the message. This could be over the radio, website, television, magazine, or a billboard.

The media to be used in some cases could be determined by geographical, demographic, economic or cultural considerations.  Over the years, radio and newspapers had been some of key mediums, based on their reach.

With the advent of the internet, a new trend was born, as news travel faster in real-time, this has led to the growth of online advertising. For various businesses, advertising on on-line newspapers such as this publication has proven to be beneficial.