How to Get Instant Attention

Most of us have seen a heckler at a baseball game. Sure, he's likely to draw attention, both positive and negative. The louder he hollers, the more attention he gets.

But do you and I want that kind of attention? Probably not. What most of us want to do – especially with our writing – is to make a positive impression that stays with the reader.

That's the reason I wrote the little book "Words That Stick" … to help writers create impressions that stick to a reader's memory like duct tape.

So, here are five ideas to help you attract attention:

1. Begin with a unique headline. Some of my favorite headlines are slightly incongruous, or create curiosity. That's what forces me to read more. Example: "Cold wave linked to temperature."

2. A second headline technique: ask a question. Example: "Do you have these symptoms of work fatigue?"

3. In the first sentence, offer the reader some benefit for reading the article. Example: "While biking through the woods last month, I made a discovery that changed my life."

4. Another way to begin: ask why. Example: "Why do I always remember where I left the keys, but never remember where I left the car?"

5. Use the word "you." Researchers say it's one of the most persuasive words in our language. Why? It reportedly makes readers feel you're talking directly to them.

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