Content providers miss making the point

By Anthony Casale

This headline, from the New York Daily News, was written to grab readers’ attention. It worked. Readership soared.

A study by American Opinion shows subject lines and headlines are six times more powerful than text in attracting readers, digital and print, B2B and B2C. Internet surfers are also 75 percent more likely to read a headline than the content, meaning even the best content often goes unread.

Yet, despite the fact that headlines and subject lines are your best tool for attracting potential buyers, they’re generally an after thought. Yet, without a compelling headline much of the best content goes unread.

Other headlines that worked.
‘A Porn star, a President and a publisher named Pecker’
‘Arizona psychic hit by a car he didn’t see’
‘Man struck by lightning faces battery charge’

You’ll probably not use quite these styles of headlines, but the exact things that made these work will make your subject and headlines work.

Here are some of the most effective ways to create compelling headlines and subject lines that more effectively attract buyers.

  • Tell people why they should care, the No. 1 predictor of readership
    Most B2B marketing focuses on a product or service, but customers don’t buy products, they’re more likely to buy based on “what’s in it for me”.
  • Create curiosity
    Tease readers to open your email without using such same old phrases as “Introducing a new…” or “See how to…” Subjects and headlines like these are used so frequently they don’t distinguish your email from competitors. Also, they don’t tell people why they should care.
  • Offer a solution
    People already know their problems. Be different, offer them solutions.
  • When appropriate, appeal to readers’ emotions
    Sixty percent of all B2B purchases are influenced in some way by buyers’ emotional reactions. 
  • Use humor whenever possible; humor attracts and distinguishes you from competitors
    The bottom line, subjects and headlines should be at the top of your e-mail marketing priorities. 

This is one of a series of smartworks posts on making your content marketing more effective. Next, creating content that really works.

For more information contact Tony Casale at or 609-912-6350.

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