It's the Headline, Stupid! – Writing Powerful Headlines

"It's the headline, stupid," is the sign that hangs over my computer screen. It reminds me that to write effective articles, press releases, sales letters – whatever I want people to read – I need a powerful, grabber headline or title.

You are competing with a lot of others to get the attention of potential readers and customers, and you have only a few seconds to grab them. By using the tips and techniques here, you can stand out from the crowd with dynamite headlines.

Use alliteration. That means using words that begin with the same sound, such as "Peter's Perfect Plan."

Take a familiar saying and turn it around. Take a cliche and put a new spin on it. What does the early bird get (instead of the worm) in your headline?

Be timely. Reference something in the news, a holiday, or other happening that is on readers' minds.

Use numbers. "7 Things You Need to Know Before You (Go to the Hospital, Buy a House, Use Your Credit Card, Get Married, whatever)" will get attention, because anyone contemplating the action will want the information.

Use "hot" words. Some words are powerful, and can be used effectively in headlines and titles. "Free," "Secrets," "Insider," "New," etc. are grabbers.

Be controversial. Make a statement that goes against the prevailing wisdom.

Use a question. Get readers' interest by asking a question in your headline, then satisfy their curiosity by answering it within the text.

Keep it short. Long Headlines can work, but short ones are better. Don't make readers work that hard.

Pique their curiosity. For a press release on mystery shopping, I used the headline, "Local Woman Spies on Businesses for Fun and Profit." Why does she spy on businesses? What is she looking for? Who hires her to do this?

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Promise a benefit. Everyone wants to know WIIFM. (What's In It For Me?) Tell them right up front with a headline that promises a great benefit, then be sure you deliver the benefit.

Follow these tips and you'll write better press releases, articles, and sales letters. They'll be read by more people, and that means more success for you!

Source by Cathy Stucker

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