How to write effective headlines

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Photo by Kelly Lacy on

I’ve written about writing headlines here and here, and I’m doing it again as it is an effective tool for grabbing the reader’s attention. A great headline can pique the reader’s interest by being informative yet intriguing. The headline can pull the reader in or catch the casual scanner.

The following 10 tips on writing effective headlines can be applied to any type of writing.

  1. Create the headline before writing or editing the story. It can help you to identify the key points you want to cover in the body.
  2. Make sure the headline contains the essential information you want the reader to get out of the story.
  3. Use colourful, definitive or snappy language, or an interesting twist of a phrase.
  4. Use strong active verbs, and write in the present tense.
  5. Consider using an appropriate quote that sums up the key point.
  6. Be as specific as possible, and employ key details to pinpoint the key elements.
  7. Include a well-known name, but refer to a title when the person is not a household name.
  8. Don’t let headlines run on too long. Create a subheading that explains more if necessary.
  9. Watch how you word the headline – avoid wording that could be read in more than one way.
  10. Stick to a timely topic so that it is fresh for the reader.

Do you have any tips on writing effective headlines? Let me know –

David Gargaro

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