Writing Subheadings and Influencing People

It’s one thing to capture someone’s attention with a clever headline, but another to entice that same person to read the rest of the copy.With iPhones having destroyed our ability to focus on anything that is longer than 300 words - unless it involves the Kardashians - creating engaging content has become much harder.

As someone who will skim the entire document before reading the first line, it is daunting to see copious amounts of copy with nothing in between. This is where subheadings become a powerful tool in increasing the level of engagement of your reader.

Incorporating subheadings into your copy not only breaks up the information, making it visually appealing, they can also work as a navigation tool to draw in your targeted readers.

So, the ultimate question is how do you write subheadings that influence people?
According to our Creative Director, Andrew Duval, there are five flavours of subheadings.

Label
Labels help with wayfinding (and assumes the reader will read the copy).
Example: About Us

Feature
A feature heading is like a label but it suggests value.
Example: The history of Liquid Interactive

Question
Questions build engagement and trust with the reader.
Example: Who is Liquid Interactive?

Instruction
Instructions show people their future by telling them what to do.
Example: Improve people's lives using technology

Summary
A summary heading gives the reader an overview of the copy that follows.
Example: Liquid Interactive creates digital experiences

These subheadings are often used for various styles of text and genres to influence the reader and maintain the connection. While the ‘flavour’ of a subheading is an important aspect in creating reader engagement, my new found interest in subheadings has led me to understand that there a few additional points to consider when shaping your so called ‘reader-bait’.

It’s about quality not quantity
Keep your subheadings short and simple. People tend to skim and are often drawn to keywords rather than a bunch of jargon. Tell the reader what they want to know in a simple yet enticing way and use the copy that follows to explain your statement or answer your question.

Create structure
Use your subheadings to guide your reader. Think of a subheading as a stepping stone, each stone builds the article and helps the reader to understand the point of the story. This will also help to create depth within the article and provide a clear sense of the direction.

Know your audience
Knowing your audience is an extremely critical part of content creation. Understanding who your audience is, what they want to gain from your article and how they will interpret your ideas can help to develop subheadings that will keep your reader engaged throughout.

Closing thoughts
Writing copy that excites and engages a reader can be difficult, especially if copywriting is not your forte. By choosing the right ‘flavour’ of subheading, using keywords, clearly structuring your text and knowing your audience, you can turn your content into a gripping piece of text that impacts your reader more than a Kardashian ever would.

Bridget Forrester
Bridget Forrester Marketing Coordinator