Headlines, sub-headlines and the art of seduction


Headlines and sub-headlines are a bit like dating.
(As if I would know! It's been 42 years!)


The first date -

You ask. If you're lucky, they say 'yes'. Clearly, you've got their interest.
You meet up for that first date.
If all goes well*, the opportunity for a second date might arise.

*In my case this meant avoiding

- spilling my drink down my intended's front
- falling asleep during the movie
- talking incessantly about football
- talking incessantly

And so it is with the main headline. Its role it is to draw your reader into your website, blog or article by summarising the content of your article, blog or web page.


Creating an air of mystery

But what's next?
This is where things become a little more subtle.
As each date progresses to the next, you have to do enough to maintain the attraction - retain their interest. Perhaps create an air of mystery?

In the dating scene, this was a talent at which my incompetence was absolute.
But, in copywriting, I have a marginally better understanding of how things work.


Sub-headlines - persuading your reader to stick around

Good sub-headlines are there to 'seduce' your reader into wanting more ... and then, to act! To do whatever it is you want them to do.

Think of it like a three-player football team.

The goalkeeper (your headline) throws the ball to a midfielder (the subheading).
The midfielder passes it to the striker (your Call To Action)
The striker smacks the ball into the back of the net!

In other words -

Headline. Grab their attention - spark curiosity.
Subheading. Draw them in deeper - explain, show benefits, or encourage action.
Call-to-Action. Tell them what to do.

Now, let's walk through each element.

Your Headline - Eye-tracking 'heatmaps' show how readers' eyes spend more time on headlines than any other part of a page.
So, your headline should say something that gets your reader excited. If it doesn't, then they won't even get as far as your sub-headline. End of story!

Sub-headlines - Use them to
- explain more.
- highlight benefits - how a product or service will improve the user's life.
- Inspire action - get your reader in the mood to do something.

Call-to-Action - closing the deal. Your headline and sub-headline should bring the reader to the logical climax of acting on what you've told them. Without the call-to-action, the reader is left wondering “What now?”.


Cherish your headlines and sub-headlines. Treat them with the care and consideration they deserve

Give your headlines and sub-headlines the love and attention they deserve. Take the time to construct them strategically and thoughtfully.

You never know - the result could be that you find yourself enjoying a long, happy and fruitful relationship!


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Dec 9, 2022
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