Headlines As The Glue Holding the Piece Together

Anyone who writes copy or content will tell you that the purpose of the headline is to get the your attention and have you be curious enough to read the first sentence. If there’s a sub-headline or subhead, it’s purpose is to help further entice you.

glue-304256_1280Yet, the job of these headers doesn’t stop there. For good writers, headlines and subheads are also the glue that holds the piece together.

What they write delivers both on the promise or the message of the headline and then on the subheads.

That means if you change the headline, or the subhead, the piece will probably need to be modified. If the change to the headline or subhead is a significant one, then a lot of rewriting will probably need be done.

How to Screw-Up a Good Piece of Work

The piece How to Tame Your To-Do List, Increase Your Productivity, and Reach New Heights of Success had at its focus helping people become more productive and successful by doing one thing: taming their to-do list using my method.

Though the editor had approved this headline and the outline that showed the guts of the piece, he decided to make changes . . . instead of asking me to do so.

Okay – don’t get me wrong, I’m not some egotistical writer who is overly protective of her work – not after writing for a Fortune 100 company for five years. Yet, what got me the best writing jobs there was the way my writing flowed smoothly from beginning to end.

When the editor changed the headline, the lede (beginning) and two of subheads further down in the piece, he messed with the flow and the integrity of the piece.

That’s because the new headline promised something very different. Instead of being focused on the reader becoming more productive and successful, his headline, How to Tame Your To-Do List with Ease and Increase Your Productivity, promised an easy way to tame your to-do list.

A change to one of the subheads from Tame Your To-Do List  to The Trick to Taming Your To-Do List with Ease reconfirmed that promise.

There was just one big problem: nothing in the original piece had anything to do with making it easy to tame your to-do list.

His changes turned an integrated piece into a to a mishmash of written material.error-102074_1280

Had this been a sales page, then his changes would have have cost the company money as the modified work would have converted few people.

That’s how important a well-written, integrated piece is.

The real shame is that all the editor had to do was share with me the changes he wanted to see. I would have rewritten the piece to fit the new direction.

How to Not Screw-Up a Piece of Work

I do pro-bono work for Nancy Strong of Strong Family Farm. When it’s time to do a piece such as this press release, she gives me lots of information and explanations. I pick through it all, develop a theme or what I call the thread of the piece, and write it up.

The focus of the press release was the fact that the farm’s new store would be the only farm stand in Connecticut stocking goods grown or made only in the state.

All well and good as focus, but what did that really mean. It meant that the farm stand would say no to selling Georgia peaches even though Connecticut’s peach crop had produced little that year.

Being a non-profit, Nancy has to work with a board of directors. After reading a copy of the press release, one of the members of the board asked for some small changes.

No big deal, but then Nancy had a change of heart about the subhead.

Below you’ll find two copies of the press release.

First up is the original that was slightly modified based on the board member’s feedback.

The second piece has a different subhead. There you’ll see in italics how the piece was modified to deliver on its statement.

Strong Family Farm Supports Connecticut Growers and Makers 100%

Says “No Thank You” to Georgia Peaches

While other Connecticut farm stands sell locally grown foods and products alongside those from other states, the farm stand at Strong Family Farm sells only Connecticut grown and made goods. That means while other farm stands can offer lettuce, tomatoes and fruit out of season, as grocery stores do, the Strong Family Farm will not. It’s a gutsy move for the organization as the farm stand’s revenue will be tied, in part, to the availability of seasonal produce from Connecticut farmers.

As an historical non-profit the mission of Strong Family Farm is to give people an authentic and educational family farm experience. The farm stand plays a significant part in ensuring the 135 year-old historical landmark continues to serve the community with its ongoing programs and activities. Yet, the decision to go with nothing but Connecticut grown and made goods was a no-brainer. According to Nancy Strong Executive Director, “I don’t think there was any discussion about whether we’d go 100% with Connecticut goods or not. It was just a given that it was the right thing for us to do.”

That meant more work for the farm stand committee members as they now had to find and reach agreements with individual farmers and makers. In some cases that meant having to compete with grocery stores and even the wholesale market. “We don’t have any garlic to sell,” Nancy explained, “because the yield wasn’t good this year. The farmer had just enough for their wholesaler and couldn’t spare any for us. It was also a bad year for Connecticut peaches.”

Another way the farm stand at Strong Family Farm (SFF) lives up to its heritage is with the additional items they stock. Connecticut family farmers raised, baked, or canned what they ate. Then they sold or traded their goods for other items the family needed. That’s why at the farm store you’ll also find:

  • SFF Adopt-a-Chicken eggs, duck eggs and free range chicken eggs
  • Baked goods and kettle corn
  • Canned goods using the farm’s own produce
  • Honey and beeswax candles, ice cream
  • And more!

The Strong Family Farm also gives visitors the chance to experience life on a Connecticut family farm by encouraging them to “pick your own fresh from the garden”.

The Strong Family Farm (http://www.strongfamilyfarm.org/) is located at 274 West Street, Vernon, CT 06066. The Farm Stand is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (860) 874-9020

 

Strong Family Farm Supports Connecticut Growers and Makers 100%

We’re Staying True to Our Mission

Though other Connecticut farm stands sell locally grown foods and products alongside those from other states, the farm stand at Strong Family Farm sells only Connecticut grown and made goods. That means while other farm stands can offer lettuce, tomatoes and fruit out of season, as grocery stores do, the Strong Family Farm will not. It’s a gutsy move for the organization as the farm stand’s revenue will be tied, in part, to the availability of seasonal produce from Connecticut farmers.

The farm stand plays a significant part in ensuring the 135-year-old historical landmark continues to serve the community with its ongoing programs and activities. Yet, the decision to go with nothing but Connecticut grown and made goods was a no-brainer. According to Nancy Strong Executive Director, “I don’t think there was any discussion about whether we’d go 100% with Connecticut goods or not. It was just a given that it was the right thing for us to do.”

That’s because the mission of Strong Family Farm is to give people an authentic and educational family farm experience.

Farming is not easy whether you’re raising livestock or dealing with the weather, soil and critters that love to eat what you plant. Back before refrigeration enabled shipping fresh fruits and vegetables across country and around the world, Connecticut’s family farmers like the Strong’s raised, baked, or canned what they ate. Then they sold or traded their goods for other items the family needed. That practice is also in place at the farm stand where you’ll find from local producers and makers:

  • Duck eggs and free range chicken eggs
  • Baked goods and kettle corn
  • Canned goods using the farm’s own produce
  • Honey and beeswax candles, ice cream, and even
  • Eggs from the farm’s Adopt-a-Chicken Program!

The Strong Family Farm also encourages visitors to experience life on a Connecticut family farm by giving them the chance to “pick your own fresh from the garden”.

The Strong Family Farm (http://www.strongfamilyfarm.org/) is located at 274 West Street, Vernon, CT 06066. The Farm Stand is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (860) 874-9020

The moral of the story