6 Secrets of Writing Great Headlines

by Dean Rieck

I remember suffering through a college journalism class where the gnarly old professor was a stickler about headlines. He had only two classifications: a headline was "crap" or "great." There was no middle ground.

At the time, I thought the guy was a nut. But now it's obvious that he was right to spend so much time on what seemed to be just a few words at the top of a story.

A headline is what captures attention. It's what pulls people into the copy. It's what creates interest or curiosity. Without a great headline, you might as well not even write the rest of the copy because most people will never read it. That applies to both journalism and advertising.

How do you create a "great" headline? Here are six little secrets I've learned over the years.

Remember, no one gets up in the morning planning to read your ads. You have to stop them during a busy day and encourage them to spend a few minutes reading about a certain product or service. Here are a few more examples:

Now! Moonlight Your Way to a Million Dollars.

How to do Central America on $17 a day.

Do You Make These Six Common Mistakes On Your Taxes?

THE 20 MOST IMPORTANT STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO LIVE LONGER.

Small Company's New Golf Ball Flies Too Far; Could Obsolete Many Golf Courses

My tough-as-nails journalism professor probably didn't care much for advertising, but I think he would admire the skill that went into headlines like these.

Copyright © 2007 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.
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