How questions can involve readers

If you’re looking for a way to catch the attention of your audience and focus their full attention on your message, ask them a question that matters to them.

Some people think that asking questions in headlines and opening statements is a bad idea. I once had a boss who became furious anytime anyone presented an ad or brochure with a question in the headline. His reasoning is that the reader might give the wrong answer and lose interest.

Could happen, but a reader who essentially answers your question with a “no” probably isn’t going to pay attention to your message, no matter how well you present it. Why? It doesn’t interest them, or they don’t find it meaningful. If you’re selling jobsite equipment for pickup trucks, most senior women probably aren’t going to stop and play close attention. But are they your customers?

By asking a question, you create engagement with the reader. That’s because it’s human nature to answer questions. Do you like red or blue better? Long before you stopped and wondered if I had gone off track or lost my mind by asking you that question, you mentally answered it. Do you prefer chicken or fish? Once again, you’ve answered it.

When you ask questions, you begin conversations with your readers. But don’t overdo it, or you’ll sound more like an annoyingly inquisitive four-year-old, instead of someone who has a genuine interest in what matters to the reader. Think you should give questions a try?

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