How to Write Headlines

A quick heads up on why the words at the top matter.

Headline writing is a true art form. Armed with just a few well chosen words you can convey a great deal within a matter of seconds. It’s no surprise then that with so much riding on headlines a lot of thought goes into their creation.

Right now there are countless numbers of Subs staring at computer screens thinking up catchy headlines. Whether it’s for print or online publication, they need to hammer home the message in more ways than one.

For Sub-editors headlines are a speciality but armed with a few insider tips there’s no reason why you can’t create powerful headlines too.

Keep it Short & Snappy

 Good headlines don’t take an age to read. They get across the basic info and leave you wanting more. Try to make it interesting too – if you just state the obvious it’s never going to inspire readers to carry on. Yes, a lot depends on the content, but if you can make it witty, clever and fun your headline will create a lot more interest in what you have to say.

Relax the Language Rules

 

Don’t take grammar too seriously when you’re working on headlines. You just haven’t got the room to get all worked up about the usual suspects. So use figures instead of writing out numbers, ban words like ‘and’ or ‘said’ and above all else embrace the freedom!

Don’t be Boring

 

There’s a temptation with headlines to make them purely functional. In their haste to fill blank space people can make headlines sound almost instructional. It’s the ‘does what it says on the tin’ kind of approach.

…but this doesn’t do you any favours.

Instead, it actually gives the game away before readers have even digested your first sentence. You don’t want your copy to sound like a manual – you want to engage with your audience and encourage them to learn more.

…so make friends with some vibrant verbs.

Have fun with your sentence structure and bring the words to life. This simple rule can really transform the most basic of headlines and greatly increase their appeal.

Don’t get Lost in Translation

 

Print headlines don’t always work online – mainly because search engines don’t have a sense of humour. So if you’re writing for the web, you’ll have to include keywords in your headline. Know what people are searching for and load your headline with the relevant words. You can still make it interesting just don’t try to be too clever with your interpretation.

Have fun!

 The possibilities are endless with headlines and they can really help bring a piece of writing to life. Try to think of unusual, poignant or witty ways to convey your point and it’s sure to pay off.

 

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How to Write Headlines

A quick heads up on why the words at the top matter. Headline writing is a true art form. Armed with just a few well chosen words you can convey a great deal within a matter of seconds. It’s no surprise then that with so much riding on headlines a lot of thought goes into their […]

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