I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Writing enticing headings

The headings you use in blog posts, tweets, articles, ads, media releases and the like are a critical aspect of your ongoing success. This also includes sub-headings, titles of tables/images and other stand-out text.

Busy people will only read on if the heading promises something they value right now.

People surfing the internet will only read more if your heading catches their attention, and holds it.

So it is worth putting some effort into making your headings enticing so you maximise the number of people reading whatever your heading leads to. Here are some tips on making your headings more effective:

  • where feasible, use ‘you’ to personalise and catch attention. It also helps you to remember to make your message aimed at your audience
  • apply ample alliteration 🙂 Repeating a letter is attention grabbing which gives your headings more impact.
  • use questions – it is like building some suspense as people are interested in learning the answer
  • be interesting or unusual, possibly even a little controversial, within the bounds of the message and brand you are portraying. This can be as simple as choosing a less common word such as Clydesdale instead of horse or scoop instead of update, or taking a different approach to a common subject (eg. ‘finding quirky blog content ideas’)
  • include a number to introduce a list, such as 5 tips to support email marketing
  • make an offer they can’t refuse like “the secret of getting twitter followers” or “meaningful posts people love to read
  • keep it short – two-part and too long headings are not as visually appealing and don’t belong in any form of marketing, especially not digital media where short works best (consider the 140 character limit on Twitter!)

Can you remember any effective headings? Do you know why it was effective?

Grabbing attention

When writing for your business, it is critical that you grab people’s attention quickly – there are too many websites, blogs, newsletters, direct mail letters and emails for any of us to read them all just in case they hold something good further down the page.

Having said that, you need to grab their attention in the right way or it can actually be damaging rather than a marketing opportunity.

What is the right way? Well, it varies according to the situation of course, but when preparing an opening to a document/webpage/newsletter consider:

  • make it relevant – no point grabbing the attention of people interested in retirement villages if you sell motor bikes
  • keep it honest – don’t promise a discount unless one is really on offer
  • keep it appropriate – swearing, sexual references, hateful comments and so on are not necessary and are unlikely to win you good customers
  • keep it as short and/or visual as possible – a half page paragraph is not going to grab like a 6 word word heading
  • aim it at what your customers want to hear, not what you want to say – I recently read an email which started by saying how great their two organisations were – the final paragraph was about a competition they were running. It would have been much more effective to start with the competition to grab my attention.
  • be realistic – or so far over the top that is obviously humour. An almost believable claim probably won’t build trust so people will move on
  • be sparing with bad (or gimicky) spelling – preferably stick to good spelling altogether and be as grammatically correct as possible
  • make it interesting or ask a question – or ask an interesting question!