How To Write Subheads That Hook & Hold Your Readers
So, Have you heard about RADD?
RADD refers to a purely made-up syndrome called Reader Attention Deficit Disorder, and almost every adult I know suffers from it. The term was coined by the writer, Pamela Wilson. Thanks to Pamela for this interesting and helpful article.
RADD is a result, I believe, of the excessive time we spend reading on screens and devices. Even though RADD is a made-up syndrome, the struggle to read better online is real. As content creators, we can help make online reading easier. And one of the most powerful tools of our trade is the humble subhead.
Subheads: big results from a little line of text.
In the grand scheme of your piece of content, a single subhead might not seem very important. After all, it represents a tiny percentage of your overall word count. But I like to think of subheads as signposts.
Subheads do this for your reader. They draw them down the page and through your content, letting them know they’re moving toward a conclusion.
If you’re not currently using subheads in your online content, it’s time to start adding these signposts that will help make your content easier to read.
There’s more — subheads actually have three jobs to do at the same time. Read on to learn how to make them work for you.
1. Subheads invite skimmers to read your content
Readers suffering from RADD appreciate well-crafted subheads because they help them decide whether they should commit their precious attention to reading your information.To get distracted online skimmers to engage, write subheads that shamelessly promote your piece of content.
In the examples above, the second subheads promote the content better because they explain how the reader will benefit from consuming it. If the distracted skimmer is about to start a perennial garden and she’s looking for help, these subheads will convince her that this content will deliver the information she needs right now.
2. Subheads that “sell” each section keep readers engaged
Congratulations: you’ve hooked a reader on your piece of content.Now use compelling subheads to “re-hook” them all the way down the page they’re reading.
It’s no wonder readers feel distracted while reading online. Between links that invite them to click away and read something else, to ads, notifications, and invitations to check out another part of a website, readers have to force themselves to stay on track all the way down the page and through your content.
Well-written subheads can help.If you write them carefully, your subheads will “sell” the section they’re sitting above. They serve as “ads” for each section that convince the reader to consume it.
There’s one more thing to remember about subheads — an extra layer of information to consider. Read on to discover how to write subheads that become their own standalone content.
3. Subheads that tell a story make non-readers want to share
Let’s face the ugly truth: sometimes trying to get RADD–afflicted readers to consume your entire piece of content is a losing battle.Some readers simply won’t read all the way through your content, despite all your best efforts to make it easy to read and to write subheads that pull them down the page.
But all is not lost. Even non-readers are valuable.You see, even non-readers share your content. And compelling subheads that tell a story all by themselves will help convince those non-readers to spread your content to others who will read it and act on it.
The key here is to have established natural authority with your content. If these non-readers trust your site and perceive it as a reliable resource, they will share your content without even consuming it themselves.
To Your Success!