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Head of the Class: Giving Headlines the Attention They Deserve Back

There is no easier way to capture your readers’ attention and draw them in than a great headline. An organized newsletter is always a plus—and the simplest way to organize text in a newsletter is the use of effective headlines. A great headline will get your reader’s attention and then help him decide if the article is worth reading. In fact, headlines can be a make-or-break feature for any newsletter. If you haven’t spent much time thinking about your headlines, now is the time to give your newsletter an added punch!

We’ve talked about how to write the text of headlines in another article on this website. Once you have the perfect headline for your article, you’ll also need to spend some time helping it to get the attention it deserves. Keep these tips in mind when you are laying out your newsletter.

Size Matters

The type size of your headline should be significantly larger than the text that follows. This seems self-evident, but it is worth the reminder. The font would also benefit from being set in a bolder face and it is usually a different font than the body text. However, if you would like to use the same typeface, simply make it larger and bolder, and you will find that the contrast is, in general, enough to draw the reader’s eye to the headline. A note of caution—many people have a tendency to use too many fonts in a publication. After all, you have so many to choose from, more must be better and lots must be great, right? Usually wrong! Check out our article on good use of fonts. And remember that headlines should not be too long or too short. A long headline (more than two lines) becomes too much for a reader to wade through and will take up valuable space on your page. On the other hand, a very short headline will not have enough information to draw in your reader.

Set It Off

Every headline benefits from proper use of white space. Leave enough space around your headlines to give your reader’s eye a place to rest. If your headline is long and is feeling cluttered, consider using subheads, set in a smaller font than the headline, but still larger than the text of the body. Subheads are also a great technique to use when you have a large article that follows. Break the article up into logical sections and introduce each one with a subhead. The more accessible you make your newsletter, the more likely you’ll have readers lingering long enough to read every word.

Mix It Up a Bit

We are used to seeing headlines up on top of articles. But the give some visual variety, consider placing your headlines in a non-traditional location. If you have room, try placing a headline to the side of the article. This is also a great way to increase white space on your page. Many people are also stuck on using all capitals in a headline. All capitals are, as a rule, more difficult to read than type set in caps and lower case letters. Again, your goals should be to draw your readers in and to increase the readability of your newsletter. Try avoiding all caps in your headlines and pay extra attention to the contrast provided by good selection of fonts in your newsletter. Also avoid centering your headlines. By placing your headlines flush left with the text of the body of the article, your headline will draw the reader’s eye to the first line of text in the article.



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