Subheadings, hyperlinks, and bullet points, oh my! These are the tools of the trade for busy blog writers looking to please clients with engaging, easy to digest content. Subheadings seem simple enough, but refining this skill can lend extra polish and interest to your basic blog content.
Subheadings 101: Types of the Trade
It can be useful to think about the various types of subheadings you can use so that you’re clear on the purpose of each subheading you insert. Here are a few common subheading types:
- The Numbered List. The bread and butter of basic subheadings, numbered subheadings and “top 5” blog posts are prevalent because they offer a clear, purposeful way for the reader to navigate the content.
- Story in Subheadings. Another way to think of subheadings, especially for longer blog posts, is that they can be used to tell an abbreviated version of the story for readers who may just be skimming through the content. Think of the main takeaway for that section, and make sure your subheading reflects that message.
- The Question. Using questions in your subheadings can spur readers to engage more deeply with the content; just be sure to actually answer the question in the section that follows.
Creative, But Not Cray Cray
Subheadings can be a great place to let your creative writer self out to play. Using alliterations, metaphors, or puns can add interest to an otherwise bland piece of content, but be sure that you’re still being clear and communicative. Some content strategists go so far to advise blog writers to not waste time being “cute” and instead simply stick to the facts, ma’am. As always, use your discretion and your knowledge of the content and client to guide how much is too much when it comes to linguistic flair on subheadings.
(Pro tip: if you have to link to urbandictionary to ensure your whole audience gets your subheading, then you should probably tone it down. Oh, wait.)
The Sum Is Greater Than the Parts
Finally, subheadings can be extremely useful to help you structure your writing time. Got a 500 word blog post to work on? Divide the post into 2-4 equal sections, each with a unique subheading, and be sure to budget for a 50-100 word opening paragraph. Having a clear structure to navigate makes it easier to stay focused and ensure that you meet your minimum word count without getting too “fluffy.” Be sure each section has a clear purpose and truly contributes meaning to the overall message of the post. Shoehorning in cool subheading titles will just confuse readers and likely aggravate the client, so stay focused on the overall unity and strength of the entire piece of content, and rock your subheadings as the super tools they are.
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.