Headlines obviously play an integral in journalism of and they can either make or break the success of a post, article, etc.
Let’s take a look at the differences between writing headlines for traditional media and for digital media. According to an article by Shawn Smith entitled “Headline writing: How web and print headlines differ,” “in print, page presentation, images and accompanying text can increase a headline’s impact. Words like ‘BIG CRASH’ make sense in bold above a photo of car accident. Print headlines have presence and can be great for getting people to notice stories…On the web, headlines take on the role of telling the entire story in limited words. Let’s revisit the ‘Big Crash’ headline that we saw in print. Do those words make sense on the web without other text or images to put it in context? If a reader see only those words on a page of search results, does the reader think about plummeting stock markets or a nasty hit during a hockey game? Without putting those headline words in context, a reader can’t know what the story is about. It’s imperative that web headlines tell the story.”
Below you will see a list I’ve compiled from various sources of tips for writing effecting headlines for digital media:
1. Show the benefits of reading the story. –“How to write web headlines that appeal to news website readers.”
2. Study what headlines work. –“5 tips for writing better online headlines.”
3. Start your headline with the word “NEW.” –“Right Methods of Writing Headlines for Your…”
4. Determine what to highlight. –Writing for Digital Media
5. Skip articles such as “a,” “an’ ad “the,” especially when starting the headline. –Writing for Digital Media
6. Use clear type and legible colors, and make the text big enough to read. –Writing for Digital Media
7. Use keywords. –“5 tips for writing better online headlines.”
8. Ask questions. –“How to write web headlines that appeal to news website readers.”
9. Be clear and concise. –“How to write web headlines that appeal to news website readers.”
10. Help set the tone. –Writing for Digital Media
Looking for tips for writing effective headlines for traditional media and press releases? Check out these links.
What advice do you have regarding writing headlines? I’d love to hear it.