This will upset some copywriters.

But it will cause other copywriters joy.

You see this is a piece about how to write more engagingly.

But it’s not entitled 15 Tips For Writing More Engagingly.

I dislike those pieces.

I dislike them immensely.

I see them all over the Internet. On Twitter, on LinkedIn, littering my inbox.

10 Rules for Content Marketing, declares the headline.

How To Write More Engaging Content, suggests another subject line.

The 9 Best Ways to Write Good Content claims another.

Please stop using such headlines.

“But Glenn, they’re good for SEO.”

No, the piece itself might be good for SEO. But your crap headline is a wasted opportunity.

“But Glenn, people like lists.”

Sure, but when they’re in a rush, they would rather know the ONE thing that’s going to save them.

Or even better, they would rather be engaged by an actual idea. Not just a description of the article you’ve written.

“But Glenn, they work.”

You think you’ve somehow discovered the greatest headline ever and it happens to be 15 Tips For Writing More Engagingly?

Get real.

A stronger headline will work better.

Why does it upset me so?

It comes down to a simple case of ‘show, don’t tell’.

When I see those kinds of headlines, I know – without reading any further – the piece will likely be a waste of time.

If the writer actually delivered good advice on how to write engaging content they would advise you to always write a disruptive, interesting headline that gets people’s attention.

If they aren’t giving that advice in the piece, it’s pointless.

If they are giving such advice in the piece, they’re still not worth listening to because in using such a generic, forgettable headline themselves – they don’t value their own advice.

It’s lose-lose.

I mean, be honest…

Would you have read this if it said How To Write More Engaging Content?

Probably not.

At best, you’d have maybe saved it until later.

But later you’d have been busy and you’d end up deleting it anyway.

Yet if you’ve read until this point, not only did you open, you’ve also engaged with the piece to the exact point I wanted you to engage to.

All because I started with an idea – upsetting copywriters. It’s something a little different and not just a bland description of what was to come.

So, while I do have your attention, I won’t waste it with 15 half-arsed tips…

I’ll give you ONE practical and quick idea for improving and piece of written content or copy…

It’s something simple, but something that will definitely help you to write more engagingly.

Here it is:

Once you’ve written your first headline or subject line for a piece – write ten more.

Don’t overthink it.

Just write as fast as you can ten different ideas.

If you’re struggling, just look at the first headline you wrote and ask: Why would someone read that? The answer will give you another headline option.

Nine times out of ten, you’ll find you write a more interesting, attention-grabbing headline by doing this quick and simple exercise.

So, run with that one.

P.S. If you’d like even more ideas for how to write more engagingly, you should pick up a copy of my book here. There are a load more ideas…and from the nice feedback it seems people find they are delivered in an engaging way.

P.P.S. Agree with me on this…or disagree? It’s cool either way. But I’d love to hear your thoughts, so do comment below.

Author

Glenn Fisher is an author, copywriter, podcaster and speaker. After a number of years working in the local council, he left to become a copywriter and founded AllGoodCopy.com, a free online resource for direct response copywriters and marketers. For over a decade he worked with The Agora, a multi-million pound international financial publisher before leaving in 2018 to write freelance. His first book, The Art of the Click, has quickly become an Amazon bestseller and was shortlisted for the Business Book Awards. He is the host of the popular All Good Copy Podcast and regularly writes and consults for numerous businesses, brands and ad agencies. He lives happily with his partner Ruth and dog Pablo on the east coast of England.

8 Comments

  1. Hey Glenn!
    I just wanted to say: I couldn’t Agree more!
    I actually enjoyed the lovely way you baited me, hooked me, & reeled me in…
    Good Advice.

    Best Wishes,
    Mara

  2. I’m guilty of writing articles with headlines like that, but you’re right. It is a wasted opportunity and I must admit that your heading for this article piqued my interest. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the piece, Nick. It’s impossible to think like this everytime, but when you’re able to do something a bit different: it sure helps.

  3. Haroon Khan Reply

    Really enjoyed this article. Agree with you that generating 10 more ideas is a great exercise and often results in some surprisingly good and useful output.

  4. Anna Fitter Reply

    Fantastic Glenn! The headline caught my attention and the rest kept it until the end. This is how the Time Magazine writers get me to click on atleast half the articles with headlines that pique curiosity and even agitate a bit. The ones that really annoy me are those that have a bold claim on the headline but zero substance in the article. Lots in the US digital media, sadly.
    Again, great piece of advice, thank you!.

    • Thanks, Anna. Glad you enjoyed the piece and found it thought-provoking. And you’re right – bold headlines still need bold content.

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