Whether you’ve written an email, blog post, newsletter, white paper or press release, your primary job is to persuade your intended readers to read what you’ve written. Anyone worth writing for is buried in potential reading material. Prioritizing and skimming are the norm. Use yourself as an example. When sorting through business or personal reading material, what persuades you to stop and read? The headline!
The headline is the hook that reels in readers. Dull headlines do not grab attention. They do not resonate with or intrigue your intended readers. They do not communicate the value of the content that you’ve spent time to research and write. Package and sell your content with a headline that makes your intended readers know that your content, email or press release contains valuable information.
Headlines alert intended readers to subjects of interest. Attention-grabbing headlines cause us to read even articles that we may conclude are a waste of time and which we may abandon, but the subject line was like a siren song to our eyes. Consider what would be most appealing, or alarming, to your intended readers and also descriptive of the content. The perspective from which you must create your subject line / title is from the intended reader’s ultimate vetting question, “What’s in it for me”?
The right headline gets you more attention, more readers, more buzz and more results. Keep these headline categories in mind as you create the headline for your next important communication:
I. How-to headline
Content that instructs and informs will benefit from a headline that motivates intended readers to take action
- Cold Calling Dos and Don’ts
- Five Tactics Guaranteed To Make You A Better Networker
- Headline Hooks That Reel In Readers
II. Challenge headline
Headlines that pose a question that intended readers are presumed to want answered, because they likely grapple with the predicament that the content addresses
- Is Your Business Model Still Relevant?
- Will Producing Content Take Over Your Life?
- Would You Like To Scoop Your Biggest Competitor’s Biggest Client?
III. Targeted headline
Needless to say, targeting is the basis of marketing and customer outreach and the more specific the headline is to the interests of the intended readers, the greater the probability that the content will be read
- Financial Management Tips for the Finance Phobic
- PR Strategies for Cash-Strapped Start-Ups
- Teaching Brings Cash and Credibility to Freelance Consultants
IV. Warning headline
“Shock and awe” headlines put intended readers in a head lock and drag them in, often times even if they would rather not. Many newspapers and magazines specialize in such headlines
- What Your Clients Won’t Tell You About Your Sales Pitch
- Why Your Advertising Budget is Only Money Down the Drain
- You Can’t Retire On Less Than $2 Million
V. Story headline
Entice intended readers with a headline hook that communicates the theme of your compelling narrative
- A Back Bay Grande Dame Celebrates Her 125th Birthday
- The Client Wore Black
- From Living in a Car to Living at the Taj: An Uncensored Story of the Entrepreneurial Life
Thanks for reading,