The deck should expand on the headline, not repeat it
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.
Not. One. Single. Word.
Your deck is an extension of the headline. It should expand on the headline, not duplicate it.
Add new details to the second layer.
Here’s a deck that adds information to the headline instead of just repeating it, from USA Today:
Mass. mulls marrying out-of-state gay couples
Dems try to lift 1913 law limiting unions
And here’s one that just repeats the head, from The Wall Street Journal:
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.)
Repeating words from the head to the deck might be a clue that you’re saying the same thing twice. Force yourself to revise repetitious layers of information. Say something new in the deck.
I repeat: Don’t repeat.
To avoid repeating the headline in the deck, try one of these deck approaches:
- A secondary-angle deck with a news head
- A summary deck with a benefits or feature head
- A benefits deck with a benefits head
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 copy combined. To make sure you’re making the most of these essential elements, don’t repeat your headline or deck in the lead.