How to write powerful subheadings to turbo-boost your content

subheadings

A great set of subheadings can turn a so-so article into one that gets a round of applause from readers and Google alike. Here are some tips on how to create great subheadings.

The subhead above is the most important one on this page. If you’re not interested in writing great subheadings and having articles that people love then you won’t read on and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with helping people for whom your article isn’t right to leave quickly.

But of course you didn’t leave because you want to write great subheads  – so let’s dive in and see how it’s done!

Why are subheadings so important?

As you will see below subheadings are a vital part of any online content creation but they are one that is often overlooked or ignored. 

Subheadings help people decide whether or not to read your article

Many people, myself included, often glance at the subheads of an article as a way to double check the title’s accuracy and to confirm in my own mind whether or not the article is right for me.

Subheadings can provide the skim reader all they need to know

It may well be that a fantastically written set of subheads is all I need to confirm that the call to action at the bottom is the one I want to take. Don’t miss the chance to convert these people with subheads that hit the ball out of the park.

Subheadings gift your readers a pause for reflection

For your dedicated and thorough reader subheads provides a Pause and a moment to reflect and absorb what you have stated. They will use the next subhead to frame what you’re about to say in their minds.

A great subhead will draw the uncommitted reader along

With everyone so busy all the time these days your subheads all the way in which you get the semi committed reader to complete the article and arrived at your desired call-to-action so make them Powerful.

Today’s power couple: great subheadings and short paragraphs

While I’m here it is worth noting that no subhead can save a paragraph that is 15 lines of dense text long. A great paragraph is short, probably two or three sentences maximum, probably around 5 Lines long. Don’t make your subhead have to work overtime to compensate for paragraphs that have got out of control.

The formula for success with subheadings:

Many writers use the four U’s formula on their headlines and their subheads. This formula says that all subheadings should be ‘Urgent, Unique, Useful and Ultra specific.’  It is certainly a useful formula but I expect you’ll want to deviate now and again as you grow in confidence.

Certainly I try to keep in mind that a great set of subheadings will probably also include power words and some emotion too.

Above all: Be crystal clear about the paragraph you are introducing and why reading it will benefit the reader.

Tip 1:  Keep sub heads short

My old copywriting trainer used to tell me to ‘eschew surplusage’ in copy (copywriters joke) – he was telling me to keep it short and simple. The same applies to subheads. No waffle, please.

Tip 2:  You may want to use intrigue

There’s nothing wrong with being a little bit of a tease but there’s everything wrong with being vague and boring. 

E.g. Five ways in which your business may be losing money without you knowing

Tip 2:  Numbers can be helpful

As you saw above, a number is a great way to draw me in.

Tip 3: Emotions are always powerful

If you can evoke a feeling that people share or want to have then they will trust you and want to read on. And by the way, ‘Discover’ is a power word!

E.g. Discover how to be happy, no matter what

Tip 4: Good subheads have a rhythm 

You may use the list as we are doing now or  you may use an almost poetic flow to draw people through your blog but subheads have a consistency and rhythm when they are done well.

Tip 5: Emotions are always powerful

If you can evoke a feeling that people share or want to have then they will trust you and want to read on. And by the way, ‘Discover’ is a power word!

E.g. Discover how to be happy, no matter what

Tip 6: Why not use a question?

If you can restate a question that is in the reader’s mind it can be very powerful.

Common mistakes with Subheads

Mistake 1: Introducing without interest

E.g. ‘Anti-social behaviour’

As a sub head on a landlords information website this is much weaker than it should be. It is not useful, urgent or emotional in any way.

So how about:

‘Don’t let anti-social behaviour ruin your reputation’

‘Solve anti-social behaviour quickly with these three immediate actions’

Mistake 2: Drifting away from the subject

This is more easily done than you might imagine and is remedied by always being specific in your own mind about the content of the article and vitally the content of the paragraph you are describing in your subhead.

Mistake 3: Being whimsical and creative

Trying to be very clever or funny in a subhead is often a mistake when a direct simple statement will be much more impactful.

Become an expert an subheads and every other aspect of creating content that grows your business

Here at The Ambitions Agency we have a range of courses and training that will turn any business into a powerful content producing machine.  Along with a great website and effective digital marketing, content done well will change the course of any business looking to grow at pace. Great content brings site traffic and sales which means happier teams and business owners.

Get in touch today to get started.

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