August 31, 2014
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
– Lewis Carroll ‘Alice in Wonderland’
It seems the best place to start any quest, process, message or endeavor is at the beginning, and in the world of content writing that means the headline. Some people may tell you they prefer to write the content first, then match a headline to it later. In my humble opinion, that’s an easy way to get off track and end up with one disorganized and confusing piece of content.
The Not-so-Secret Secret
The secret of using the power of headlines to take your content to the next level isn’t really a secret anymore. That’s to say, the information is out there should you choose to read and follow it. The issue with scores of websites, newsletters, blog posts, sales letters and brochures is that the concept seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
The Art of Engagement
You need a strong headline to engage your readers, web visitors and prospective customers. People are bombarded with hundreds of messages every single day, and their patience is limited.
If you aren’t able to reach out from all that mess and grab your prospect’s attention, the rest is useless. You might have the most eloquent, provocative, persuasive, thought-invoking piece of content ever created, but only if people read it. And without an engaging headline, not many will.
The Goal of Any Headline
The goal of a headline is simple, but also incredibly important. It is to get people to read the first line of the website, letter, brochure, etc. That’s it. If you are able to create a headline that engages the reader enough to get him to read the first line, mission accomplished.
From there, you just have to keep him interested so he’ll keep reading and take the action you want him to take, but that’s another post for another time.
Sub-Heads to Guide You
The secret power of headlines does extend beyond just the main one at the top of the page, though. By using sub-heads throughout the content, you can guide the reader along to the end of your message. Sub-heads make the writing appealing to both skimmers and those who prefer to read every word.
When you use the mini headlines effectively, your readers can get the gist of your message even if they don’t have the time to read every word. It’s like telling a story, where each section within sub-heads is like a little chapter unto itself.
Keeping Writers On Topic
Headlines are also a valuable tool for keeping writers focused on the subject matter at hand, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph. It’s easy to get side tracked to the point you end up with something that bears little resemblance to the headline at the top of the page. Always remember, people are reading this because of the headline you created. Give them what they want, or they may never come back.
If you’d like some help with your headlines, or any other part of your content, Contact Us today and we’ll get you started.
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