How to Write a Powerful Dek
By Paul Krantz

An effective dek (that little intro snuggled under the main title) is a powerful eyeball magnet. Draw readers into your text with a dek that summarizes your content and clearly states a reader benefit. A brief dek (150 characters or less) also makes a search-optimized meta-description for web projects.

The basics of a great dek are easy to master:

Choose clarity, not cleverness. Forget about alliteration. Banish puns. Shun jargon and jokes. Be ruthless. You have only two goals: 1) to create a dek that summarizes your main topic and 2) an explicit reader benefit.

Write, then rewrite. You might need to write 5 to 15 deks before your find the one that fulfills this checklist:

  • No more than 200 characters (about 30-40 words). Shorter is better.
  • No verbs in the "to be" family -- is, are was, were, will, am, become, became
  • No noun or verb that appears in the first two paragraphs of body text
Read well-written deks. Gain inspiration from the perspiration of others. Here are a few websites that offer great deks (and heads, too).

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