Instead, telegraph a secondary angle in this key piece of display copy
Your headline and deck — that one-sentence summary under your headline — are San Francisco real estate. Make sure each word does new work.
So don’t repeat words from the headline in the deck. That’s right: Not. One. Single. Word.
Not the name of the product. Not the name of the company. Not the name of the topic or story angle or the subject matter expert.
Not. One. Single. Word.
Add new details to the second layer.
Your deck is an extension of the headline. It should expand on the headline, not duplicate it.
Here’s a deck, from USA Today, that adds information to the headline:
Kidney stone cases could heat up
Global warming cited as culprit
And here’s one, from The Wall Street Journal, that just repeats the head:
Low Income Could Be Tax Bonanza
A year without much income could actually prove to be a tax bonanza
(Ah, now I understand. So you’re saying low income could actually be a tax bonanza? I didn’t get that from the head.)
I repeat: Don’t repeat.
Why avoid repeating? So that you:
- Say something new. Repeating words from the head to the deck is a clue that you’re saying the same thing twice. Say something new in the deck.
- Streamline the headline. Too often, headlines get too long because we cram primary and secondary angles into them. Cover the secondary angle in the deck, and you’ll take a load off — and words out — of your news head.
Hey! Don’t repeat your headline or deck in your lead, either. Your headline, deck and first paragraph probably get more readership than the rest of your message combined. To make sure you’re making the most of these essential elements, don’t repeat your headline or deck in the lead.
(And that’s nothing compared to email, where you should avoid repeating a single word in any of the four key elements of the “envelope.”)
5 news headline-deck combos to try
To avoid repeating the headline in the deck when you’re covering news, put your primary story angle in the headline, your secondary story angle in the deck.
Here are five types of headline-deck combos to consider:
How can you reach non-readers with words?
“Readers” don’t read. Even highly educated web visitors read fewer than 20% of the words on a page.
Learn how to reach people who spend only two minutes — or even just 10 seconds — with your message at Catch Your Readers, our persuasive-writing workshop, starting May 16.
There, you’ll learn how to put your key messages where your readers’ eyes are. You’ll discover how deliver your key ideas to people who don’t read the paragraphs. And you’ll find out how to draw even reluctant audience members into your message.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.