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Jessica: So, you start your articles with a great headline?
Sean: First headline, then outline of story. Then you think about it, create story in your brain while you're walking or doing something else. Then flesh it out. Then edit, edit, edit, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. (You're getting picture.)
Headline writing is a skill developed like everything else. You can't find it. Write dumb headlines to start with. Then look around and see what headlines grab your attention. Headlines with questions always do. Headlines with curiosity do. Headlines that have nothing to do with subject like "Why do twins have same last name, and different first names" work. That's because people are intensely curious. If you appeal to their curiosity, they will pounce on your headline.
But far by biggest headline attention getter is one with a problem in it. Problems are whirlpools. Do you make these mistakes in English? Are you struggling to attract CEOs? These are absolute killers. Identifying biggest problem your client has and then putting that in headline. I can assure you, attention will be yours to keep.
Jessica: After you've got headline written, how do you keep your articles appealing?
Sean: Break up paragraphs. Write good subheads. Keep it flowing.
Use lots of examples. Finish with a flourish. Write like you're going to say it in a speech.
The purpose of every line is to make you read next line. All communication must lead to change. That's biggest lesson of all.
Readers are deadly. The unsubscribe is only an email away. You can't fool them with word Free. It has no meaning. I don't want Free. I want good stuff. Readers can be quite demanding even when there's no charge. It keeps you on your toes.
Jessica: And part of "good stuff" readers want in a newsletter is about personality, right?
Sean: Personality is everything. What are you without your personality? What is your product, your service and your brand without one?
Be pink or orange or purple, and let that show through. If you're a serious number cruncher, be dead serious. Give only figures and serious statistics. There will be a niche for you.
If you are a mad Psychotic like me, don't be afraid to show that through. That's literally your thumbprint. It's got to shine with a million watts. Remember, that a billion people are vying for same spot.
As Dire Straits sang, "Sitting on fence is a dangerous course. You could get a bullet from peace keeping force."
Jessica: We're just about out of time. Earlier, you mentioned ending with a flourish, so, I'm curious, how do you write great endings?
Sean: The ending is a not just a wrap up of sorts. It is a clear reflection of headline.
Different words. Same stuff. It can be again, like a movie. Sad, dramatic, unexpected etc. but it is always a mirror of start.
If you write a great headline, you have a great ending. They're twins. They just sit on either side of bookshelf. Sometimes, it helps to start with end in mind. If you can turn out articles with last line first, you'd become a bloody genius!
If you'd like to see more of Sean, visit him at his site http://www.psychotactics.com where he shares specific techniques for engaging buyers online and off. His insight into buyer's brains will make you wonder if he's got any cadavers in basement.
Is it your job to increase company profits? The Write Exposure offers the resources you need to do just that at http://www.designdoodles.com