In the never-ending clamor for readers’ eyeballs, effective headlines and subheads are your best bet for getting someone to stop and pay attention to your content. The best headlines also double as a TL;DR for your readers and allow them to take a quick glance and come away with your CTA or main nugget of info.
Here are some good basics to consider when drafting headlines and subheads.
Tips for Headlines—Don’ts
Don’t state the obvious or use bland “so what” content.
Don’t use super long sentences that require a lot of qualification.
Don’t use this valuable real estate for inconsequential information.
Tips for Headlines—Do’s
Copy the newspapers and condense copy so it’s easy to digest and easy to scan.
Draft a few options; don’t settle on the first headline you write.
Take SEO into consideration.
Use compelling snippets of quotes or heart-tugging/unique instances from your story—specific is always better.
Good Ideas for Subheads
Consider subheads within copy to be “mini headlines” of the paragraphs they lead into—ask yourself if your subheads do this work for your readers.
Amplify the emotion or tease of the headline to draw readers into your blog, article or email.
Use them within longer pieces of content to break things up and guide readers through (and allow them to scan or even jump through to certain sections).