Now That I Have Your Attention…

(Beyond the copywriting headline)


© Dawn Carrington - All Rights Reserved





Whether you’re new to the copywriting business or you’ve been in it a while, you’ve probably already heard how important the headline is. You have to grab the reader’s attention so they’ll stop what they’re doing and read the rest of your article, letter, or advertisement.  I won’t deny it’s imperative that the first words your reader sees must be show-stoppers, so to speak, but what about the rest of the story?


Has a headline ever caught your eye and you stopped to read on only to be disappointed in the remaining text? That’s as much a killer to any advertisement as a boring headline, and you won’t get many jobs (or keep many clients) if the only blow you can deliver is the punch of the powerful title.


Copywriting is about more than just snagging a reader’s attention; it’s about keeping it. And writing a promising headline and failing to deliver on the subject is bringing yourself perilously close to career suicide.


So how do you prevent a reader from tossing away what you’ve written before they reach the end of the first paragraph?


You need to remember that you’re trying to convince the reader to act, and one of the best ways to do that is to engage them. Get them invested in the product or service you’re writing about.


Use what I call “thought questions”. These are questions that make the reader think and feel. For example, “what would you do if you’re stranded alone on a deserted road only to discover your cell phone has no coverage?” The first thought that pops into most readers’ minds would be panic.


The question doesn’t just make the reader think about what he/she would do, but it also establishes a potential situation that could actually happen. This will encourage additional reading. After all, anyone would want to know the solution to such a dilemma.


Some other examples would be:


What would you do if you injured yourself and couldn’t reach your phone?

How many times have you begun a conversation only to discover your cell phone’s battery is dying? How dangerous could that be if you were in a situation that required 911 assistance? 


Never ask yes or no questions. They let the reader off the hook, and you will potentially lose their interest if they feel the subject doesn’t apply to them once they’ve answered the question.

One caveat: While using thought questions can draw a reader in, you don’t want to make your reader think his/her way through the entire text. So you have to find a happy medium between reader participation and provision of the solution.


So before you begin to write your copy, think about the product or service you’re promoting. What kind of questions could you ask that would draw a reader in? What kind of emotions could you elicit? Once you’ve written the questions, provide the solutions and then you’re halfway to text that will keep your readers reading.




Dawn Carrington is the editor-in-chief for Vintage Romance Publishing. A multi-published author of fantasy and paranormal romance herself, she currently writes for Ellora's Cave, Red Sage Publishing, and Samhain Publishing. She has created and taught courses for Suite 101 and University for Writers. Additionally, she is a promotional and business consultant and non-fiction writer for several online e-zines as well as print magazines and lectures frequently on the business of writing.


To learn more about Dawn or Vintage Romance Publishing, please visit or









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