Personal Ad Writing: 3 Secrets of Successful Personal Ads

When you’re surrounded by millions of other personal ad profiles, how can you approach personal ad writing to make sure the people you want to meet actually notice you?

Start by checking your matches. Then create a profile that will capture their interest. Make it exciting. Make it special. Make it stand out.

Here are some tips to get you started in effective personal ad writing:

1. Your headline. Browsing through Search Results is like being in a room full of potential mates. With so many personal ads to choose from, you have to depend on first impressions. Your headline is one of the first impressions you make, so it had better be good!

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  • · Make it unique. "Looking For Love" or "Seeking My Match" is too generic and won’t set you apart from the crowd. Remember that your headline is one of the first things other members will see; set aside a few minutes to make it special.

    · Play up your best features. Structure your personal ad writing to pick the most appealing or distinctive aspect of your personality. "Warm, Affectionate Man Seeks Hand To Hold In His," "Gourmet Wants To Cook Romantic Dinners For Two," "Yes! There IS A Woman Who’d Love To Watch Football With You Every Sunday!" In personal ad writing, it’s important to send a message that your match will receive loud and clear.

    · Be clever but clear. Don’t assume strangers will understand your sense of humor. "Clever Headline TBD" doesn’t give anyone a reason to read your profile. "Fat, Ugly And Stupid Seeks Thin, Gorgeous And Brilliant" doesn’t work either (would that make you want to click or move on?).

    · Be realistic. "Prince Seeks Princess" and "Looking To Live The Fairy Tale Life" suggests that you need to get your feet back on the ground. Try not to set yourself up as an object of pity in your personal ad by using the words "lonely" or "desperate," as in "Lonely Lady Seeks LTR" or "Desperately Seeking Soulmate." Are you looking for someone who is lonely or desperate? Neither is anyone else. And surely there are more enticing ways to describe yourself!

    2. Your personal ad profile. Once your headline makes someone want to learn more about you, the trick is to keep his or her attention. Don’t feel like you have to sell yourself; just be open and honest. Ask a friend to help you write your profile, and have another friend read it afterwards. In personal ad writing, keep the following advice in mind to help you create a winning profile.

    · Get to the point. Avoid beginning by complaining about how hard personal ad writing is or find a quality mate; everyone here has to do just that. Dive right into describing yourself and what makes you tick.

    · Focus on your strengths. Write about your hobbies, involvement in your community, interesting work or travels—whatever it is that makes you special. Think about your ideal match, and write as though you’re talking specifically to that person.

    · Being honest is a must in personal ad writing. An "avid tennis player" is not someone who started taking lessons last weekend. The walk from your desk to the parking lot—no matter how briskly you do it—does not count as "exercises daily". Remember that your match will assume everything you write to be true; once you decide to meet offline, you don’t want any uncomfortable surprises.

    · Be realistic. The words you choose in writing a personal ad can alienate potential matches, so go easy on phrases like "drop-dead gorgeous" and "looking for the perfect mate." Set your expectations high, but keep them real too.

    · Describe what's important to you. Effective personal ad writing involves not being afraid to mention qualities that are important to you in a relationship; loyalty, the ability to communicate and listen, intelligence and humor are good examples. Put those qualities front and center, and avoid emphasizing characteristics that are less important to you. Give some thought to why your best relationships have worked well and why the worst worked so badly; maybe you’ll discover a pattern there.

    · Check your spelling and grammar. Your personal ad profile tells your potential matches what to expect from you in an offline conversation; your personal ad writing is all anyone really has to determine your personality and your ability to communicate. Although it might be completely unfair to assume, misspelled words can make people judge you as being uneducated or illiterate. Take a few extra minutes to check your spelling. Try writing your profile in a word processing application first; run spell check, make corrections and copy the text into your profile.

    3. Your photo. Did you know that profiles with photos are eight times more likely to generate responses from other members? And as with all other aspects of your profile, the photo you choose says something about you; make sure you’re delivering the message you intended.

    · Keep it real. Don’t be deceptive with your photo choice. That means everything from not choosing a clean-shaven photo if you’ve just grown a goatee to not posting a photo from two years ago, right after you lost all the weight that you’ve since regained. And please, whatever you do, don’t use someone else’s photo instead of your own. Remember that you’re going to have to live up to the image you present, so make sure it resembles the real you.

    · It’s all about you. Choose a photo that features you by yourself. A group doesn’t make you the center of attention; in fact, it may even make it difficult for your match to determine who you are. Would you want to make it all the way to a first date only to find that your match actually was interested in your friend, the one who was third from the left?

    · Go in for your closeup. Photos taken from a distance end up stealing the focus away from you. Even though you’re proud of your new car or boat or your recently acquired ability to hang glide, keep in mind that your matches want to see your face; they want to be able to associate what you look like with how you describe yourself in your profile.

    · Focus on quality. The attention your photo gets should be positive. Choose a good, clear, current close-up of your face as your primary photo; additional photos can include full body shots or pictures of you with your pet. Make sure the photo is well-cropped and doesn’t cut off the top of your head (leaving your matches to wonder if there’s hair there). And remember to smile!

    Ready to get started writing a personal ad profile? A great place to try out your new personal ad writing skills, and to see photos of singles looking for dates, is at You'll get some of the greatest exposure possible, since this online dating site is one of the best known. Send an email and let us know what you think!

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    Humor in personal ads Not rated yet
    Some of the best ads I've seen have some humor or a clever play on words, without going overboard or getting too goofy. Anyone else have a take on this? …

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