Copyblogger Brian Clark has recently wrote an excellent piece on writing exquisite subheads. I think this is a must learn skill if you are thinking of doing any form or writing on the Internet, may it be sales letters, or blogs or articles.
People don’t READ, they SCAN
I suspect its because of my own exposure to reading blogs and articles that I tend to scan through everything. Nowadays, I realise that I am starting to get impatient to read the daily newspaper. I mean – its one big headline and so many teeny weeny words. How can one bother to read every single word?
On that thought, too much Internet reading exposure might be detrimental for school students who need to read between the lines. Maybe that is why I never pull off reading a full research paper in school in detail. I’d rather scan 10 papers in 30 minutes, than to read one in detail. Unfortunately, research papers need to read in detail because its the numbers that make sense, but I simply skip the numbers and look for the conclusion.
The trend of scanning is of course brought in because of the fact that the Internet is overloaded with information… and its sad to say that at least 80% is pure junk. Its no wonder why people like myself have started to have less patience in reading bulk of text – they provide no value.
So you need to turn scanners back to readers
The thing is, people WILL start by scanning your site, and your goal is to get them to read the text again, because I think there is nothing that can be done to get them to start reading on the first time – not even by saying something like “Read this text carefully, because this may be the most important letter you are going to read” – simply because too many people are doing it, and many readers are already sick of these stuff.
The best way to do it is using subheadings
Yes, so the best way is really what Brian mentioned – to use really useful subheadings to provide a general picture and a reason for them to read the copy.
So, donâ€™t think in terms of subheads, think sub-benefits.
Simply identify all of your main points, and at the transition point between each, write a headline highlighting the benefit of reading the next section. Apply the same methodology as you would to any headline, while realizing that itâ€™s easier to keep an existing reader than it is to hook a new one, so donâ€™t go overboard.
The subheadings must highlight the benefits – the gist of the whole story.
Brian also provides three very useful techniques to create subheads for better results:
- Express a clear and complete benefit.
- Use Parallelism That Advocates Action
- Try Writing Your Subheads First
I’m so inspired. Brian Rocks! Check out his post.