The more we continually divert our attention to digital activity, the more difficult it becomes for any of us to stand out.
This is problematic in a field where the fundamental goal is to gain traction by means of attention.
Born of this difficulty is the need for headlines or subject lines to become more attention-worthy and enticing.
This need is applicable to anything from pitches, captions, subject lines, or even the intro to a text message.
Think about it. When in the middle of your busy day, you receive a text message notification on the lock screen of your phone, do you not read the first line of the text and immediately decide the degree of priority for your attention based on the first few words?
Why would this idea be any different in a business setting?!
This does not mean that you have to operate in the same fashion as those annoying clickbait headlines that prioritize monetizing clicks over genuine content.
There are sincere ways to make better and more effective attempts to be more appealing.
A good headline should focus on the summary of the overall content with an overall excited tone. Don’t just tell me about your new product or idea; SELL IT TO ME, but with sincerity!
That being said, here are just a few guidelines to follow to more effectively draw attention to your headlines or subject lines:
- Know your audience. Put in the effort to do your research. Your audience will notice your intentionality or lack thereof. When you are receptive to people, they will reciprocate. To be good at captivating attention, you also have to be good at being attentive.
- Keep it concise. Short and sweet! Our average attention span is about 8 seconds, so anything that takes us longer than a few quick seconds to read will likely not effectively grab our attention.
- Be clear. With so many thoughts and messages clouding our minds, it is refreshing to read a statement presented with a strong sense of direction. This kind of message would require minimal effort to initially be enticed by.
- Use wit. If we are naturally drawn to people who are witty in physical space, it is arguably true that we are naturally drawn to wit in a digital space as well. Do note, however, that wit is not simply humor or sarcasm, but rather spontaneous creativity that is attentive to the particular and intelligently utilizes or presents humor.
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