If your inbox is anything like mine, it is inundated with email.
We are bombarded with messages, both welcome and unwelcome.
There are emails from friends and family. Those are usually welcome (unless Aunt Beulah is forwarding email sharing how Bill Gates is giving away $5000 just for sharing a link on Facebook.)
There are messages from business associates. Those are welcome when it’s all about personal contact or if you are subscribed to a list with your express permission.
But then there is everything else. And “everything else” can jam up your inbox faster than a rush-hour traffic jam. Everyone is clamoring for your attention.
That’s why your headline must suck.
Of course, by “suck” I mean “suck you in to read more!”
Short-attention span is not just for teenagers. In today’s fast-paced “I want it yesterday” culture, the mind wants what it wants and it wants it FAST!
That’s why the headline of your blog entry, guest post, magazine article, press release, podcast or other form of broadcast must grab your target reader’s attention.
Very few businesses can get away with a press release that says “WorldWide Widgets Partners with AcmeTech to Deliver Better WhatsIts to Planet Earth”.
The reality of the deal struck between these two companies may be better than sliced bread. In fact, their partnership may open the doors to people getting exactly what they want. That’s big news!
But with a boring headline, who really cares?
If the same two companies issue a press release that says “WorldWide Widgets and AcmeTech Partnership Makes People Happier”, now you have my interest.
I could care less that you have partnered with someone else. I want to know the impact your partnership is going to have on me, the people I care about, and the world in general.
While this sample headline is largely preposterous, it does have a hook that makes me think “what in the world are they doing that makes people happier?”
Which headline would you be more likely to click?
“Five Tips for Raising Children”
“Five Ways You Can Be a Hero to Your Kids”
The content of the article is the same, but how you present it to readers is completely different.
If you are going to spend the time and effort to create content or generate promotional copy, why not make sure that what you write is going to be read?
Be creative. Don’t be afraid to take risks. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Your content doesn’t get read. That’s likely to be the result if your headline DOESN’T suck!
What you have to say is important. If you want to stand out in the endless sea of emails, social media, press releases and noise, take time to craft a headline that makes people sit up and pay attention.
I like to write, but I don’t consider myself the best copywriter. I turn to people smarter and more creative than myself for really good headlines. But every now and then I write one that sucks.
You’re still reading, right? Mission accomplished.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments and questions below.