Subheadings in Article Writing – How to Create Them to Help Engage with Readers

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Today’s digital content consumer has a notoriously short attention span. Since 2000, it has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. With the onset of COVID-19 and increased competition, marketers have to find out innovative ways to make content marketing a lead magnet. Now that means that article writing companies have a challenging dilemma – how to keep the readers hooked to the content.

The writer begins with the first task of crafting a memorable headline. With this USP, she strives hard to keep the reader from moving away from the blog.

Next, she tries to write conversational content that will make the content reading experience an enjoyable one.

In this part, you will notice an interesting piece of advice – “incorporate subheadings”.

Let’s see why this is an important part of the engagement objective of article writing.

What are sub-headings in article writing?

Many blogs have a typically well-defined structure. It starts with a title, has an intro that delves into the problem. This is followed by a main body that lists out a solution to a problem.

Many in-depth articles tend to be quite long. Now, it is natural that given the reader’s short attention span, there needs to be a way to keep him hooked enough to continue reading.

This is where the concept of subheading comes in.

A subheading is like a mini headline that carries the narrative forward.

Also, it comes in handy when the reader is first scanning the article to see if it is worth her time to read from start to end. Needless to say, a subheading will play a greater role in telling the reader that yes, it is well worth her time to stay on the article and read it till the end.

So, we can say that well-crafted subheadings help improve the engagement of the brand with the reader. So, make it a point to add a subheading every 200 words or so.


Benefits of subheadings in article content

1 – Splits long text into digestible chunks

Readability is an important prerequisite of reader engagement. Article writers know how not to make content consumption a draining experience. They take care of avoiding text fatigue with techniques like using lists, bullets and subheadings.

Subheadings serve a valuable purpose here. They help a writer to break up large text into smaller, digestible chunks. She will break the long text at key transitional points (for e.g., when it moves from “advantage no. 1” to  “advantage no. 2”).

2 – Assists readers in scanning

Today’s reader is clever. She first checks if the content is worth reading.

How does she determine this?

She does this by scanning the text from top to bottom. This will entail a quick scan of the title and the subheadings.

Imagine if the subheading fails to entice the reader. She will simply close the browser and walk away. This demonstrates the importance of a catchy subheading.

3 – Provides direction to the narrative in article writing

Subheadings work towards helping the reader from one chunk of text to another. This is done without compromising the cohesiveness or flow of the content.

It seeks to prompt the reader to continue reading ahead. This helps maintain the momentum and sustain the reader’s interest in the article.

When do writers create the subheadings for an article?

Article writers know that they need to first create an outline to build a framework for an in-depth blog. This step happens during the research stage, much before beginning with the draft.

In this stage, the writer will collect the material and see if she has sufficient matter to write on a central theme in the article topic. During this collection phase, she will list down all points to cover. These points will follow a logical or step by step order.

Keeping this outline in front during the drafting phase will guide the writer. She knows exactly about

  1. What needs to be written?
  2. What is the next point to be covered?
  3. How many words to write per point in the body?

This is the point where subheadings need to be created.

Take an example of an article. Suppose the title is “3 Questions a Content Writer Should Ask Clients Before a Project”

The outline will be as below as per your research.

  • Intro
  • Question#1 – Type of content
  • Question#2 – Client business
  • Question#3 – Reader persona
  • Conclusion

Now the writer has points#2 to 4 as the article body. She will then go on to craft a subheading that describes the point below it. So the three sub-headings can be

2 – “What type of content is needed from the content writer?”

3 – “What is the client business?”

4 – “Who is the reader for the content?”

When the reader scans these subheadings, she will get a clear idea about how the narrative is flowing. She will come to know the 3 questions.

Now it will pique her interest further.

She will want to know the what, how & why of each of the three subheadings.

How to create subheadings that keep readers hooked?

1 – They should create value

Don’t just write plain vanilla subheadings. These need to convey a clear understanding of what is the narrative of the point being discussed after the subheading.

2 – Test and re-test the subheadings

It is a classic sin to finalize the first subheading that comes to mind. You need to keep revising the subheading, till you are confident that it provides the necessary effect you expect it to have.

3 – Try writing the subheadings at the beginning

Smart content marketers know the importance of structuring the article. This can be done by providing an outline to the article before the writer begins with the draft. She will list out the various sections for two key purposes –

  1. It helps the writer to verify if the narrative is flowing smoothly without a jarring effect
  2. By delineating the copy, the writer can provide a logical structure to the content.

Lastly, don’t forget one key thing.

You need to mark the subheadings as either H2 or H3 in the HTML editor of your blog publishing site.

Typically it may be a WordPress site.  Such sites allow the writer to enclose the H2/H3 tag around the subheadings.

To conclude

Today, every digital business is fighting to get noticed. You need to work hard on your content writing to create compelling articles.

It is equally true that readers are brutal when it comes to simply scan the text to decide if they need to stay longer. Writers know and accept it as a fact of life. That is why they make bullets, lists, and subheadings their friend when writing a compelling article.

Creating subheadings will go a long way in enticing readers to stay on the site for long. These tips will provide you with assistance on how to create subheadings in articles that cling to the readers’ minds.

Connect with an expert article writing company like Textuar to help extract more from your content marketing goals

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