The very mention of the word headlines incites many adverse reactions. If you dread headlines, you are part of the majority. Crafting a newsworthy headline is an art and a skill that requires talent and practice. When I started writing, my headlines were so bad that they brought shame on my work and disdain from co-workers on the team. They weren’t really bad—probably average. What you’d expect in a school report or something. I guess I was a little overwhelmed by working in terms like complainant, vicarious liability and exploding fuselage, and I admit that the state of my headlines brought me to tears when a certain team member told everyone that my headlines weren’t good enough. It was pretty bad, but it also helped me to become better. By writing 50 headlines a day for a long, long time, anyone can get better, and that’s just what happened to me.
If you can’t wait four years to craft the perfect headline for your article or blog post, here are a few tips.
The best way to develop a good lead sentence or a killer headline for an important project is to create several possible options. I like to make a five-point list, and start jamming on ideas. As you get to the fourth or fifth headline, you might be coming up with some better angles, or you might realize that the first few were stronger. That’s fine. Sometimes I’ll read a few ideas in the office to get some feedback if I can’t decide which title I like better.
Another thing to think about is the length of your headline and how it will look in search results. If you include important information at the end of your headline, those details might not display. According to experts, headlines should be under 65 characters, including spaces, to display completely on all the major search engines. Of course, important keywords should also be included in the title for optimal exposure.
That’s all for now. Back to writing those headlines!