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The Invitation: Use Your Headline to Invite Readers Into Your Content

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. (Luke 14:23, NLT)

A headline is an invitation into your content. A #devotional for #writers based on Luke 14:23. #FreelanceWriting #Headlines

A Word For Writers

“A Little Man Is on the Way.”

The headline, centered on a graphic of a white shirt with miniature suspenders and a bow tie, was an invitation to a baby shower. And it was intriguing. Who was this little guy?

What followed was the usual invitation information: the mother’s name, shower date, time, place, and RSVP contact with a note explaining that gifts of diapers would be especially welcome. (This was the mom’s third child and she already had plenty of baby gear and clothes.)

I was touched to be included in this lovely celebration of a new life.

Just like this precious invitation, a headline is an invitation to your reader to take part in your content.

But when it comes to headlines, we writers tend to complicate matters. A headline can be too broad: “Baby Shower.” Or it might lack enough information and that prevent you from knowing who, what, where, when, or why – and keep you from reading further. Or worse, a headline can be deceptive by promising too much but not delivering the content – like being invited to a shower for triplets when the mother is expecting a singleton.

It’s helpful to think of your headline in comparison to Jesus’s story about The Great Feast (Luke 14:15-24). Some ignore it. Others respond. But the invitation is extended with clarity and with welcome.

It’s a writer’s role to extend a genuine, intriguing invitation. It’s a reader’s role to respond.

A Wise Word

Your headline is an invitation to readers.

A Word To Pray

Loving Father,

Thank you for extending an engaging invitation to all. Let me follow your model as I write headlines. Show me how to be welcoming to readers with specific information so they can respond … and read.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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