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Write attention-grabbing headlines 22 Aug 2018

If you want an article noticed by your readers, make sure your headlines are well written. Along with images, headlines grab readers’ attention, so make sure they have impact.

There’s a way of analysing your headline online, at https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer

As with any online resource, treat it as a tool, not as your master. Only you know what you want to say. Also,  the analyser requires a sign-in, so tell it as little as possible about yourself, and sign out of emails if it sends you them unsolicited.

Headlines are no longer just for print media. They’re important for your emails, social media posts and websites. Even TV is using them now – notice how a newsreader or reporter often starts a report with something like, “Shots in the street …”

Here’s a quick checklist for your headlines:

1      Does it grab attention, or is it ho-hum?

2      Is it brief (don’t be tempted to tell the whole story in a headline)?

3      Write as though you are talking.

4      Is the spelling and grammar correct? But deliberate errors can catch the eye. Like “to boldly go...” (Star Trek) A split infinitive.

5      Is it factually correct?

6      Does it accurately reflect what’s in the story?

7      Is it active, in other words does it have an active verb in present tense (the difference between “Man bites dog” and “Dog bitten”)? Aim for active language – in the story, too.

8      Keep your headlines in lower case. There’s no need to capitalise every word.

9      Use power words – these should make readers curious and trigger an emotional response that acts as a magnet. They should make your readers want to know more. An internet search will provide plenty of examples of power words.

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