The Secrets to Subheadings that Keep People Reading


Engaging headlines and subheadings

Your new blog post or Ezine article is a strategic workhorse to attract new visitors to your website.  A good headline is vital to start people reading.  But once you’ve crafted a headline promising a desired benefit to your readers – don’t stop there.

A good headline can’t succeed alone.

A common mistake in content marketing is forgetting to make the benefit of reading obvious at first glance.  If you win a visit from your title, most readers are not likely to jump in and read your piece from top to bottom.

Most people skim.  They glance around asking: “How does reading this help me?” The answers are in your subheadings.  It doesn’t matter whether you have a simple or complex idea to offer us in your article.  Show us the concepts we can quickly and easily apply to our situation to find bliss or avoid trouble.

Subheads tell people how your information will work for them

When I read an article written with poor quality subheadings (or without subheads), it’s hard for me to find how the piece might help me.   Do not expect readers will work hard to understand what you are getting at.   Tell them the benefit of knowing what you’d like them to learn.

Use subheadings to tell people early and plainly how your ideas help them  Reading is work.  Subheads motivate people by showing them why they should read on.

Make sure the text under the subheads is easy to read

Because people will be reading your piece on the Web, it’s good to aim for a very easy reading level.  A 12th grade reading level is too high in most cases.  Shorter words and sentences result in reading is of about 8th grade, which is a good target for web reading.

Unless very motivated, people skim at first.  They don’t persist unless the first glance shows the piece is promising.  They skim to check whether a piece seems likely to help them pretty easily. If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to feel the help at first skim.  So people move on instead.

A subhead should provide a quick insight standing alone

Avoid unfamiliar terms, especially in subheadings.  You can explain them in your text.  That doesn’t mean they can stand unexplained in your subheads.  Specialized terms  discourage further reading unless your readers know what they mean already.  Jargon in subheadings doesn’t help you draw readers in – it turns readers away. Rework them it so headings use terms that can be understood all by themselves.

Subheads pull readers all the way through to your call to action, or resource box

If you’re writing for an Ezine, do you have an ‘about’ box you are going to append to the end?  This is how you convert readers into website visitors.    The about box is where you describe how your business benefits others and  how to get in touch with you.

For a copywriter, for example, you can say the name of your business and how your writing services improve reader response rates and improve your communication in business.

For a blog post on your site, do you have a call to action at the end of your article? This prompts your visitor to accomplish your goal for visitors to your website.  It might be to buy a product or sign up for your emails.

To bring people to your inbox or landing page — good use of subheadings is really key.

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