Writing for Impact: Headlines, Lead Paragraphs and Email Subject Lines

Tuesday - 27 August 2013

 

Content that attracts attention almost always incorporates an eye-catching headline and powerful opening paragraph.

Headlines

Search-optimized keywords and clever puns aside, writers must lure readers with compelling headlines, Chris Lake asserts in 30+ Powerful Adjectives and Verbs for Eye-Catching Headlines. Lake includes ad legend Leo Burnett’s Power Verb Cheat Sheet as a resource for effective verbs that persuade the audience to click on the headline.

Among the list of verbs: 

  • Avoid
  • Boost
  • Grasp
  • Leverage
  • Maximize

The 14 Most Powerful Words in Marketing and Publicity, assembled by marketing leaders Jeanne Hopkins and Jamie Turner, greatly strengthen the copy of any press release, social media post, email and blog post.

Attention-getting words include:

  • Now
  • Easy
  • Money
  • Proven
Lead Paragraphs

Writers and bloggers also need to create a strong opening paragraph to hook readers. Sarah Arrow recommends content that starts with a bold statement in 97% of Bloggers Increase their Readership with These Opening Paragraphs.

The 97% statistic is fake, Arrow immediately reveals, but she adds, “How’s that for boldness?” Unless you plan to expose your statistic as fictitious like Arrow did, all claims should be backed up with evidence. Writers can also engage their readers by asking a question or painting a detailed scene.

Email Subject Lines

Sometimes, a clever email subject line is needed before recipients can see the creative headline and opening graph. For bloggers with subscribers to their content or a newsletter, Steve Young suggests that they inspire readers with real numbers and use a topic that relates to their audience’s current state of business.

In Eye-Catching Email Subject Lines to Catapult Your Open Rates, Young shares some email subject lines that caught his attention and explains why they attracted him. Try a subject line that is blunt or completely unexpected, he advises. Subject lines that ask questions are also a great way to get attention, especially when they’re personalized with the recipient’s name.

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