Learning to network

November 17, 2006

See how easily you can attract readers’ attention

Filed under: Publishing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:01 pm

I hate a hard sell! If a young chap in a smooth suit approaches me in a store to ask how he can help me, sir?, and he doesn’t get my hint to leave me in peace, he risks me walking straight out of the door.

I also hate cheesy sales copy that has been ripped off time and time again – in my mind it just has “I want to exploit you” written all over it.

This is why I hated the cheesy, exploitative headlines in the post 7 More Sure-Fire Headline Templates That Work UNTIL I read the explanation below…

The 50+ comments to the post varied between praising and scathing, until this very clear explanation by Andy Beard

“Bloggers still haven’t grasped that what people are looking for isn’t facts, but solutions to their problems. A title or headline shouldn’t provide the “features” of your article. What it should provide are the “benefits” of reading it.

All of a sudden I understood the point – the headlines got attention because they pandered to common needs or desires. I could also appreciate the idea, because I have just learned the importance of putting achievements into a CV rather than simply listing responsibilities. The reader is attracted by how the writer is clearly offering to help them, and it seems well targeted.

There are also two other facts that came to mind as I read the various comments:

  1. I find them “cheesy” just because so many people have used them in the past. Why? Because they work! 
  2. I clicked on an article using one of these titles, that linked in to this article that used that type of title – so even if I thought them cheesy, they still worked.

Its kind of difficult to argue with these two facts, isn’t it?


1 Comment »

  1. Isn’t it funny how we keep being drawn in by the same old stuff? But like you said, it works. People are looking for solutions to their problems and that’s what being a salesperson is really about-giving someone a solution to their problem. I think it’s tough selling yourself but when you think about helping people find the answer they’re looking for, suddenly, it doesn’t seem as hard.

    Comment by biasonus — November 18, 2006 @ 2:00 am

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