I’ve been asked to write a feature for a magazine in subhead format. As a web-journalist and editor I welcomed this refresher. They are critical to getting, keeping and entertaining readers, so I thought I’d share these tips.
Do blogs really need subheads?
Yes. Readers like, are used to and expect small chunks of information on the web, particularly in blogs. It is our responsibility as writers to help lead our readers through our stories, and subheads are important signposts. Search engines also like them, although filling them with keywords is not recommended. Subheads help you target information, promote benefits and inspire action. Hubspot has a great overview.
How do I grab readers' attention with subheads?
With less than 10 seconds to grab the attention of most web readers, it’s important to make subheads work. Smartblogger lists these three tips:
Before: Becoming a freelance writer
After: Why becoming a freelancer was a great idea
The ‘before’ example is simply a regurgitation of the topic that follows.
The ‘after’ example raises interest, makes the reader curious, has readability.
What are the secret ingredients of cooking up great subheads?
Pay attention to the subheads in blogs you enjoyed reading. Look for common characteristics like:
I enjoyed this refresher, and hope you did too.
Kate Harrison Whiteside has over 25 years experience in plain language, writing/editing, training and consulting.