Secrets to Creating Great Headlines
By Catherine Franz
Great! You finished your piece and now need a headline.
Usually headlines are less than ten words and need to be
expressed in short, expressive, active words. This provides
quick focus and pull in. By waiting until you know what you
are ending up with, it will save you time. You can give a
temporary headline while drafting.
If you have a good lead paragraph, you will find the
headline. If you want to intrigue or hook your readers, look
at the significant points instead. Which idea or thought can
you use as that hook.
Here are some tips on how to write that headline:
* Grab a highlighter and underline the nouns and key words
in your lead paragraph.
* From the key words, imagine yourself composing a
telegram, and each word is costing you $10. Avoid articles
-- A, An, The -- and prepositions -- On, Under, Beside, etc.
* Substitute simple but effective synonyms to keywords. Say
"polls" instead of "elections" or "go on" instead of
* Write headlines that are simple and easy to read. Don't
use heavy words. Use words that are short and familiar.
* Directly give your story's main idea at the beginning of
* Try and working in the main benefit the reader gets for
reading further. Also, add another benefit in the lead
paragraph, to keep them moving forward.
* Use dynamic and powerful words. Not what you think is
powerful but what you reader is going to think as powerful.
* Always be specific and avoid generalities. "Do this and
you will get this" needs to be specific to be believable.
Provide examples or statistics. Give the result that is
believable to the reader.
* Only use a person's name in the headline if they are well
known. Provide a link to where someone can find out more
about this person.
* Repeating key words, using weak verbs such as a, an, is,
are, or starting the line with a verb is not recommended.
* If you have to use abbreviations, do so only when the
abbreviation is commonly known to your main target market.
Create a footnote for a definition or place the
abbreviations in parentheses.
* Use numbers only if important and write them in figures
-- use B for billion and M for million.
* Even if your statistics are out standing you might night
want to state them. If they are too unbelievable, people
will not buy.
These thirteen tips are not all inclusive to all the tips
and techniques you can use to create headlines. When I
wrote these I wanted to convey some suggestions for the
frequent mistakes I see made or unique recommendations that
will get your headline noticed quickly and build curiosity.
About The Author
Catherine Franz, business and writing coach, resides in Virginia and is a syndicated columnist, radio producer, International speaker, and author.