In many online dating sites your tagline will be a major factor in getting people to make that first, fateful click. Take a dozen pages full of photos. Yours might be in the best 20-30%, because you read this. Still, that’s a lot of profiles to click through. Unless your photos are amazing most people will also glance at your tagline, and this is where you can turn a “Huh”, into a “Hmmm…”
So your tagline is important. It’s the distilled essense of your profile. For this reason we recommend writing it last. With the tagline, there’s a much greater tempation to agonize over every work–to try to make it perfect. Once you’ve completed at least the main section of your profile you’ll have a much easier time coming up with a tagline that captures its soul. Go ahead and start here. When you come back to this section, your profile-writing juices will be flowing so fast that the tagline will come easily.
The real key to a great tagline is to somehow inspire curiosity. You can’t reveal the depths of your personality in a single tagline, nor can you communicate how great your CV is (without sounding like a douche). The best you can hope for is to get your reader to think, “There’s something going on here … something different.”
This isn’t to say that you want a crazy, random tagline that says “psychopath” as much as it does “individual”. You want to be congruent with your personality, and with the profile that follows. At the same time, the tagline can afford to be a little more over-the-top, wacky, poetic, or boastful than the rest of your profile. As the distilled essence of your profile, it should pack a little more punch.
Before you read any further, try this exercise: write a few taglines. Follow the same advice offered in Starting Your Profile and Writing Profiles. Relax, have fun, invest nothing in the outcome, and don’t sell! Remember: you’re writing these taglines for your own amusement. You don’t know which (if any) you’ll be using, so none have to be perfect. Bash them out and you’ll start to get a feel for the type of tagline that will work for you.
OK, done? Now that you’ve proven to yourself that you can write your own tagline, it’s time to see what other people are doing. Do a search for people of your own sex and age group, and scan through some taglines. Check out a lot of them–50, 100, or more. Get a feel for what sounds the same and what sounds different. Do this until you get really bored. Stick with it. We want you yawning.
Now remember that boredom. That’s exactly what you don’t want your reader to feel when reading your tagline. Notice how whenever you came across a slightly different tagline it was like a ray of sunlight? It didn’t even have to be all that funny, or literary, or wild. It just had to give you feeling that the person who wrote it was not exactly the same person who wrote the last 20 taglines.
You probably noticed a number of different styles of tagline. And yes, there are many styles that work. Let’s look at some of the strategies and styles available to you:
The Poetic Tagline
This tagline flows off the tongue. It scans really well. It doesn’t necessarily need to say anything fascinating. But the way the words flow, the asonance, alliteration, and the rhythm, will capture your reader’s eye and make them want to click for more.
“Thrill-seeking sun-lover seeks same”
“Pretty witty kitty chillin’ in the city”
The Incomplete Tagline
The sole aim of the incomplete tagline is to inspire curiosity. Your reader should be thinking, “What happens next??” OK, this type of tagline can also communicate a whole lot more: sense of humor, adventurousness, vast personal wealth, etc. But first and foremost is to hook your reader into clicking.
“A rabbi, and stripper, and an online dater walk into a bar…”
The Quote Tagline
Choosing an obscure quote or song lyric for your tagline might be a little lazy, but it can be an effective strategy. Two things: the quote needs to be pretty obscure, and it needs to stand on its own as a meaningful intro to your profile.
If the quote is obscure enough then most people won’t know it’s a quote, and so will take it at face value. Those who do recognize it will be impressed with themselves for knowing it and will see you as a kindred, clever spirit for being into the same author/musician/movie/cult leader.
“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love”
“Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before”
“Ground control to Major Tom, commencing countdown, engines on”
“They say miracles are past”
The Descriptive Tagline
The descriptive tagline tries to capture your essence by explicitly stating some of your qualities. This is a very common approach, and so if you go with this you should make a special effort to make it interesting and unique.
“Tall, dark, and buddhist”
“Picky bastard, loyal friend”
“International mystery man”
The quirky tagline
If you have a weird sense of humor, and if you’re looking for someone who finds you completely hilarious, then why not portray this side of you from the beginning? Lots of people are going to find you weird – and may be compelled to click because of that. The right people will find you adorable, and be hooked from the start.
“So, you want to survive the zombie apocalypse?”
“Hand-made monster seeks kitten friend”
“Limbs akimbo, teeth apart”
“Flatulent gnome seeks fairy princess”
The Earnest Tagline
Tell it like it is, and really put your emotions out there. The earnest tagline shows that you aren’t afraid to reveal the real you, and this is very important to some people. As much as we encourage honesty, please be careful not to come across as desperate… even if you are.
“Rainy Romanticism- do you feel the same way?”
“Looking for something real”
The Arrogant Tagline
Confidence is attractive. Cockiness is sexy. You can absolutely go too far with it, and it won’t attract everyone … but if this is a part of your personality then one of the best places to portray it is in your tagline. Especially if you can show that you’re not a complete jerk in the profile that follows.
“Sexy Sarcastic Smartass”
“If life hasn’t thrust greatness upon you . . . ”
“Exceptional Seeks Extraordinary”
The Meta Tagline
This type of tagline is awfully clever, an ironic commentary on the nature of online dating. Use only if you want your date to think that you’re awfully clever.
“Witty, totally original tagline”
“Add to Cart”
“Click to download hot guy/girl”
“Hey, is this thing on?”
(OK, this last one was funny the first time. Now it’s way overused. Skip it.)
The Playful Tagline
Lighthearted and fun, the playful tagline shows that you have a positive outlook and don’t take online dating overly seriously.
“Must Love… Books!!!:)”
“Man seeking woman with appreciation of punctuation”
“Previous cuddling experience required… references not necessary”
The Reverse-Psychology Tagline
Demand the opposite of what you want and take advantage of your reader’s rebellious streak. Play hard to get and people will rise to the challenge. Anyone with a sense of humor will realize that you’re being sarcastic, but they will also see that you’re not afraid to push humorless people away.
“No! Don’t Click”
“It’s never going to work out”
“Don’t turn me gay!”
The Edgy Tagline
The edgy tagline involves taking risks, much like the reverse-psychology tagline. If you have somewhat overt or fringe desires, and these are important to you, then don’t be afraid to reveal them. Sure, a lot of people will be turned off, but the right people will be turned WAY on.
“Did the film Secretary intrigue you?”
“Who needs to spanked and why?”
“JEWESS: Why seek forgiveness tonight when you’ve yet to properly sin?”
“It’s Rainy Out. Let’s Eat Cookies And Fuck”