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The reason these are so vital is they are the two important gateways you have to move the reader through to achieve the purpose of your article.
In this first article of two, we'll look at the first vital gateway, the title and the summary paragraph, which many article banks require. This is often called the teaser paragraph because it should do just that – tease the reader into reading the full article.
In the second article, we'll look at the crucial gateway you have to get your reader through – actually visiting your website.
First, let's be very clear about the main purpose of your article: the prime purpose, among several, is to attract qualified visitors to your website. The article should also give the reader some valuable information, which will demonstrate you know your subject. That, in turn, will lead them to regard you as an authority on the subject and want to seek further information by coming to your website.
With this in mind, it's obvious you have less chance than the proverbial snowball in hell, if your article title and teaser copy doesn't stand out among all the other articles on the article bank or website. The way many article banks display their articles, the headline is all you have to "sell" your article. So it's no exaggeration to say you have ten seconds in which to live or die! So it will pay you handsomely to put some of the tricks of copywriting (which is really psychology in words) into your articles.
The reason is this: your article title is just as crucial as the headline on any sales letter – generally agreed to be 80% of the whole. The purpose is the same, because you are also selling a product: getting the reader to first read your article and then come to your website. So your efforts must be equally strenuous.
A good tip that we copywriters always follow is to write as many headlines as you can think of. And then leave them for a day or so. Sleep on it and then choose, or further modify, the best one. It really is that important! The summary copy is almost as important, because, when this is also shown, it's a further chance to get the reader to decide to read the full article. Just like in copywriting a sales letter, that first paragraph is almost as crucial as the headline. The best way to handle this is to write the very best summary, you can and spice it with a pinch of curiosity – preferably curiosity that further enhances your headline.
When writing both headline and summary, always remember curiosity is one of the greatest human motivators. So always ensure your headline and teasers have a certain enigmatic quality – but always keep on the right side of reality. There's no point in enticing your reader into your article, only to have them feel they've been duped.
It's also a psychological fact people react far more readily to the fear of a loss than the prospect of gain. So, if you frame your headlines and teaser with this in mind, you'll find your response rates rise. For example, take one of the most effective headlines of all time: "Do you make these mistakes in English?" The reason it's proved so effective for so many years is because it immediately gives the reader an itch. And it's an itch that can only be scratched by reading the copy to discover exactly what mistakes you might be looking a goof by making.
So, let's suppose you're writing an article about, say, kite flying. And let's say you wrote Ten Top Tips On How To Fly A Kite. Now that's pretty good, because "tips" headlines pull well, because of curiosity and fear of loss. After all, you might only know nine of those ten tips – then where would you be? But, knowing what a powerful psychological trigger that headline is, try this one: Do You Make These Fatal Mistakes Flying Your Kite? If you were a kite enthusiast, you would immediately feel the fear rising in your throat. Suppose you're making one, or – heaven forbid – more than one fatal mistake!
Even if the house was starting to burn down, I bet you'd ignore it, click on that headline, and devour the article. Tests show, switching to that style of "negative" headline can increase your response rate by up to three times! Come to that, you're reading this article because my headline Are These Mistakes Costing You Money? induced you to.
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