I’m not sure you’ve noticed, but the rules about subject lines on blog posts have changed. You now have approximately the subject line plus the first two lines of your post to earn someone’s full attention. If that’s true, now what?
Subject Lines as Drivers of Eyeballs
It’s not that the subject line has to do ALL of the work, but at this point, the subject line is where someone decides whether or not to click and drill down into your article. The subject line has to give enough information for someone to actually choose to read further.
Because this is true, you have to top-load your articles and writing. It’s vital that the MOST IMPORTANT stuff is shared first, and then you work your way down. Let me sketch that quickly:
Subject: Most important eye-catching information.
First 2-3 Lines: What the reader will most need to know.
Next Paragraph: The story that supports the top of the post.
Rest of the Post: The details.
Call to Action: Invite the reader to the next steps.
“Marketers” and “Content Experts” Drowned Everyone in Junk Content
Listicles and Buzzfeed and Clickhole title writing is why we’re doomed to have to fistfight our way to earn someone’s attention. It’s our mess, so it’s ours to fix.
What will that take?
- Clarity – be crisp about why you want someone’s attention
- Value – give something worth the click
- Alignment – speak to a specific group, not just “anyone who will stop by”
At this point, if you’re not writing to reach a specific reader who is seeking reasonably specific information, you’re talking to no one.
Writing with a top-loaded style takes a little adjusting. Especially since people don’t really want “just the facts” but a little bit of entertainment into the mix, your goal now is to determine how to deliver quality information to whoever gives you their attention. It won’t come naturally, but it’s very doable.
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