Learn How to Write an Interesting Personal Ad

Gone are the days when people looking to hook-up put a personal ad in the newspaper (“If you like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain …”). But personal ads are still very popular – online.

From beginning to end, your personal ad needs to grab the attention of potential responders. Depending on where you post your ad, you may only have three to five lines total. Apply the three-second rule to your ad. Studies show that readers decide if they are interested or not in the first three seconds. Break down your personal ad by writing it in specific parts.

Before you read on, please note that these are only some ideas if you want to get creative or need a head start. Some like to keep it simple and straight to the point, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that approach either. After all, your personal ad is about you and what you are seeking.

And if you really want to have a little fun, check out our collection of the best & weirdest personal dating ads over the years. XOXO


The Headline
Think up an amazing headline. The headline of your ad will be the first thing that readers see. Like the headline of a newspaper article, your ad headline should make you want to read more. Avoid using acronyms in your headline. Some online dating sites may have a limit to the length of this headline, so keep that in mind when writing it. But regardless of the limitations associated with it, make it memorable. You want the headline to draw a potential partner in and make them want to read the rest of your ad. You also want something that accurately describes the best parts of you. Implement your personal interest into the headline. For example, a writer might say, “Pen the next great romance novel with me.” Make your post pose a question like “Is This What You Were Looking For?” Or go for something else like your favourite song lyrics or a movie quote that seems to perfectly describe you.


Your description
Your description is going to be short, so make every word count. Things to focus on when writing your description include:

  • Focus on your strengths but be honest. There’s no need to talk about all of your faults but don’t exaggerate your strengths, either.
  • Talk about your hobbies. This gives people an idea of what you like to do and who you are.
  • Show who you are, rather than telling who you are. For example, if you like to have fun, write your description in a fun way.
  • Be honest about everything. If you meet in person, you don’t want to have to confess anything you lied about.
  • Add whatever is the most important to you. This allows other people to see your priorities.
  • Consider adding your age, location and ethnicity.


Start with a good lead
Your first sentence should make the readers read the succeeding sentences. This means that your first line should immediately catch reader’s attention. Make a sweeping statement about yourself. Summarize in one sentence how interesting you are before you go through the meat of it. If you introduce yourself like, “Hi, I’m Peter Smith, 64.”, chances are they’ll just close their window and move on to the next ad. Your lead must build up interest and give an exciting preview of what they would expect when they read the entire ad.


What are you looking for?
When writing a personal ad, you’ll also want to include things or aspects you’re looking for (or not looking for). Such as:

  • Age range
  • Ethnicity, (if relevant)
  • Any other characteristic that is important to you (example: NS (non-smoker) a must! or GSOH (good sense of humour) a must!)
  • Any hobbies that you particular want to share (example: films, novels or travel).
  • Any characteristic that’s ok with you (example: Kids ok)


Natural Flow
The best way to convey who you are in the context of an ad is to write as if you were speaking. If you focus too much on sounding professional and polished you may end up sounding like you are too stuffy or too upper crust. Read and reread the body of your personal ad before posting it.


Be Humorous
You are allowed to laugh in your personal ad; this is not a resume. Make light of life and show that you do have a good sense of humor. However, remember that self-deprecating humor does have its limits. Don’t talk down about yourself.


Be honest
Do not let others expect too much from you or expect less of you. Write what is only true. Do not exaggerate data. Bare your true personality. Don’t under estimate yourself. Show your best qualities if you must. You should not be ashamed to flaunt it if you really have it.


Be different
Create your own style. What makes an ad boring is that it looks like the same as the others. If your readers see that it’s same as the others, they might even think that you just copy your own.


Be unique
Make an exclusive claim of your ad. Avoid being stereotyped. This will make your individuality a lot visible. And this will set you among the rest. Avoid creating an impression that you are plain and boring.


What Not to Do
Knowing the wrong way to write an ad is just as important as getting it right. Sometimes the wrong nuance or wording will make you appear needy or too complicated. Avoid these behaviors when writing your ad.

  • Do not use all capital letters. In the writing world, this means you are yelling. This behavior is not attractive to men or women.
  • Do not tell lies. Embellishing your life story may stir up some interest but eventually your lies will come back to haunt you. Stick to the truth.
  • Do not be an open book. Telling too much, too soon may make you come off as being overly chatty or needy.
  • Avoid being negative about yourself or your life.
  • Do not be too generic. You don’t want the whole world to answer your ad, just a specific group.

And if you’re still stuck – Why not review other personal ads. One of the best ways to figure out what you want to put in your ad is to read other ads. Read good ones and bad ones. Choose to include ideas from the good ads, and remember to avoid the pitfalls from the bad ads.

Jump on your search engine (i.e. Google) and search “personal ad examples”

Handy tip: Use example ads as a way to determine what is said so often it doesn’t allow you to stand out from the crowd. Even if the statement is a good one, you want to avoid using it if you find it in 50% of the articles you read.

An interesting personal ad may be the springboard to a happy new relationship. Take your time and write an ad you are proud to put your name to.

And remember, if all of this is too much to think about – just be yourself and honest. Keep it simple and to the point. After all, personal ads don’t need always to be creative.