The power of the standfirst: 4 reasons to focus on your snippets.
Call it a standfirst, intro, H2, summary, blurb, whatever you like. Fact remains, when it comes to digital copywriting, this short paragraph is your best friend. Your headline might be what grabs a reader’s attention, but it’s your standfirst that’s got to deliver. So when you’re writing content for online reading, remember these reasons why these few lines are amazing.
- 1. They get around
In digital copywriting, a standfirst is the hardest working piece of text you’ll write all day. You’ll frequently find them cropping up as the snippet in search results, whether on a search engine or on your own site, they are repurposed as link text for related feature boxes. Wherever they go, they need to entice your readers in.
- 2. They don’t care about format
A good sell is a good sell – no matter what industry you’re from or platform you’re on. A convention we’ve loved since it appeared in print, they’ve travelled seamlessly to digital, whether in ecommerce, content marketing, social and now to mobile and tablet.
- 3. You can use them to frame anything
Want your article to leave people with a particular view or piece of information? Frame it in the standfirst and let them start the piece with that fact in your mind – it’s a great way to write persuasively.
- 4. Readers love them
Using standfirsts makes copy much more usable. You give your reader an informed choice by employing them to this effect. You let people know what they’re going to get by investing their time in reading the whole page – meaning happier users.
So, spending time carefully crafting a standfirst will pay substantial dividends. It takes time and practice to make it transparent, persuasive, engaging and on-brand – and to write for all the jobs it has to perform. It’s not a bad idea to invest in some digital copywriting training to give you an idea of best-practice. Your standfirsts will thank you for it.