July 27 2012
Advice, how-to's and tips for writing eye-catching news headlines and subject lines
Your headline is the first - and perhaps the only - impression you make with a prospective reader. You need to draw them in with a compelling headline.
According to Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger
and CEO of Copyblogger Media:
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.
Remember, every element of compelling copy has just one purpose — to get the next sentence read. And then the sentence after that, and so on, all the way down to your call to action. So it’s fairly obvious that if people stop at the headline, you’re already dead in the water.
The better your headline, the better your odds of beating the averages and getting what you’ve written read by a larger percentage of people. This 11-part series will provide you with concrete guidance that’ll have you writing better headlines in no time.
More from Clark:
• 10 sure-fire headline formulas that work
read the full article online with responses to the questions below: 10 questions to help you write better headlines
, by Matt Thompson via www.poynter.com
- Is the headline accurate?
- Does it work out of context?
- How compelling a promise does it make?
- How easy is it to parse?
- Could it benefit from a number?
- Are all the words necessary?
- Does it obey the Proper Noun Rule?
- Would it work better as an explanatory headline?
- Does it focus on events or implications?
- Could it benefit from one of these 10 words? Top, Why, How, Will, New, Secret, Future, Your, Best, Worst.
read online: 6 Tips for Writing Eye-Catching News Release Subject Lines
, by Bill Miltenberg, PR News
You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly judge the effectiveness of an e-mailed news release by its subject line.
"News releases? People still use those?" some wise guy always asks when the subject comes up.
Yes indeed they do. Despite the growing popularity of social media as a media relations tool, the e-mailing of press releases is not abating. More than 90% of respondents in an April 2012 PR News/Cision survey said they plan to either hold steady or distribute more press releases via e-mail
in 2012. Crafting subject lines that catch the attention of journalists and lead to clicks is an art in itself—and like any art form, it demands constant tinkering and experimentation.
Here are six tips that will help make you a subject-line artist:
Think like a journalist.
Use the newspaper and magazine headlines and blurbs that grab your attention as sources of inspiration. They are often short and capture the story in one statement while inspiring the reader to seek more information—e-mail subject lines should do the same.
Point out the benefits.
Whether you're promising an inside scoop, a follow-up to a journalist's recent story or a trend that impacts their readers, make sure your subject line indicates that the e-mail is of value to the recipient, and that it's not just part of a wide shotgun blast of company information you're sending to all your contacts.
Don't try to bamboozle the recipient.
Unless you were actually engaged in an ongoing conversation, putting "RE:" in a subject line is manipulative. Once your recipient realizes it was only a ploy to get his or her attention, annoyance or rage will be the likely response—not coverage.
Subject lines and headlines need to convey as much essential information in as few words as possible. “Avoid fluff or padding,” says Lisa Horowitz, copy chief at the L.A. Weekly. “Don't put the entire story in the headline—one of the main goals of a headline is to entice the reader, without spelling out everything the story has to offer.” The journalist should know just enough from reading the headline to determine if the story might be of interest to them and their readers.
It’s tempting to exaggerate the content of a release, says Andrew Hindes, president of The In-House Writer. Avoid statements like “New Cell Phone Cures the Common Cold!” Editors and reporters are sensitive to hype and will not look favorably on a press release or pitch that doesn’t deliver on its headline or subject line, says Hindes.
Don't feed them spam.
Certain words trigger alerts for spam filters. Examples of such words are “free,” “you,” “mortgage” and “order now,” says says Barbara Ulmi, head of marketing at e-mail solutions company GraphicMail. Complete lists of most frequently used spam keywords are available online. Excessive punctuation (like capitals and exclamation marks) also triggers spam filters. Not only that, it’s a cheap trick: It might be a matter of urgency for you, but is it really so urgent for your target?