One of the challenges — whether online or offline — is attracting the interest of readers. A sometimes under-appreciated aspect of communications is the headline.

With that in mind, consider these observations by Ginny Soskey of HubSpot: “Crafting headlines is the hardest part of the entire writing process. You’ve got to be descriptive, yet concise. Attention-grabbing, yet factual. Search-engine friendly, yet catchy. Oh, and alliteration works well. And you’ve probably overused the word ‘awesome’ or ‘amazing’ — so find something better than that. To top it all off, it should also fit in under 140 characters so it’s easy to tweet.”

Check out Soskey’s 15 tips by clicking the image.




14 Replies to “Having Great Headlines for Stories”

  1. I really enjoyed this post, as a buzzfeed lover, I understand where the author is coming from. Although many titles are misleading, the site is about bizarre and weird things. For the author to be upset about it was strange because if you do not like the concept of buzzfeed, just don’t use it. However, I do think that misleading or incorrect heading/headlines are a common problem in the United States. Often times authors use such an interesting or catchy title to draw in a reader yet there articles isn’t really anything like their heading said it would be. Although I don’t really know if it’ll be a fixable problem as authors will always want people to read their articles and will use catchy headlines (even if not totally true) to do so.

  2. I have to say that Soskey couldn’t be more right! Headlines are what we see first in a newspaper, a blog, or an ad so it really should be as catchy as possible. What i really liked about this article is how Soskey brings in twitter to the conversation. I have recently seen news stories advertised on Twitter and they do catch my eye. It is just really interesting how we can still be involved in the news while on social media.

  3. I can see it being extremely difficult to come up with a good and put together headline. I mean, I dont always click on everything that i see unless it distracts me and makes me need to open it. That’s what a headline should do. A good headline should stop you in your tracks of whatever you are doing at the moment, and make you say, “hey i really need to check out that article” and if you dont check out the article, then you will regret it until you open it. You must be creative in your headlines. An average headline won’t appeal to the eye but a creative and distinct one will. It also should be short enough to read without barely looking at it. If you have a long headline, while someone is scrolling they most likely wont always stop to look at it. It should be short enough to read real quickly while scrolling. Then it should stop you if it’s good.

  4. It’s times like there where being a Journalism major in a marketing class actually comes in handy because we are learning about stuff like this all the time. Especially in online writing you need to have a hard concrete headline because readers (like the article states) could make up their mind on a story within the first couple words of what they are reading. If they don’t make it past the headline it doesn’t matter what you wrote about or how well the story is formatted blah blah blah. A headline should catch your attention no matter what. Your evidence is shown by magazines and newspapers like the National Enquirer or People that have headlines like Kim Kardashian pregnant with Jay-z baby or something ridiculous. It doesn’t matter what the story has to do with or how in the world it was written, if you suck them in on the headline you already have them hooked.

  5. I was actually thinking about this the other day- curious as to how to get one line to appeal to such a wide audience. A headline becomes so important. With out a catchy and effective headline, the article or content doesnt even get reviewed! First off I think it has to be relative, intriguing, and hold a curiosity. It cant give away too much, yet it has to catch the readers eye. With out these factors, what will make someone “click the link” or pick up the magazine. In a way, the headline becomes more important then the actual story. An interesting dynamic.

  6. I totally agree with it. Some headlines seem very attractive, however, after I click it and read the article, I get very disappointed by the content of the article. So it is really important to come up with a creative headline yet keep it factual as the article says. And so many times, I see a headline and think its boring, but after I read the article, I am surprised by the content. I couldnt stop wondering how many people just pass by the article and let it go because of its boring headline. From my experience, I would come up with a headline that partly tells the truth and keep the another half mysterious, that is how to attract people and evoke their curiosity.

  7. I took a journalism course last semester and I remember a whole class meeting was dedicated to a lesson and discussion of the headline. Because of how our technology has molded us to be people with very short attention spans, journalists jobs (and really any job that entails attention grabbing i.e. advertising or marketing) have become more difficult. It is all about what words and the placement of those words will attract the readers eye. I remember in my journalism class that headlines were the trickiest things to write. Not only do they have to be very specific, they also have to be packed with the article’s information, and at the same time be short and catchy! It truly is an art to craft the perfect headline and kudos to those journalist who do.

  8. I actually found this blog really interesting. I love to write and every time I am writing, whatever it may be, I always think to myself what would be a good headline. Headlines are the most important part of what someone is writing. Without a headline, no one cares to read whats underneath it. I agree with this blog that headlines need to be attention grabbing and eye catching. The whole point of a headline is that it stands out and forces the reader to actually be interested in that specific story. I agree with how it was stated in this blog that a headline should be short. If a headline is too long it can become boring and the audience can tend to loose focus which won’t make them even want to read what the article is about.

  9. This is a highly accurate observation. Especially now with the rise in technology, people are getting lazier as information is getting easier to obtain. While either skimming articles, blogposts, or news stories, the title is always the first thing we see. It’s the title that initially interest the reader to begin reading rather than just moving on to the next post. However once the reader starts reading, it is the introduction that will either hook the reader into finishing the article, or getting bored and moving on to the next one. It’s the combination of the two that make for a great hook and truly capture reader’s attention

  10. Head lines are extremely important. They are what draw in the attention of readers to the article. A head line has to evoke curiosity in the reader so the reader actually gives the article a chance but he headline also has to be somewhat factual so readers are not turned off by a false statement. Head lines are defiantly key to having a successful article that grabs the attention of many readers.

  11. Personally, I find the hardest part of writing to be the title. If one does not have a good title the reader won’t even stop to read your work. A title should be short and sweet. It should have a meaning. The Facebook example uses to many numbers and is too long. Everyone knows how popular it is so there is no need for the number of people using it. This title is not catchy to the reader and will make him skip over the article.

  12. A few months ago, I learned how to write a journalism article. I needed a headline that was short, but right to the point and summarized the article with a catchy title. It’s really hard to think and write a headline because it’s the title that catches the reader’s attention. I agree that headlines must be short because it’s lengthy it’ll lose the attention of the reader.

  13. Depending on what you are attempting to sell, coming up with a successful headline can be difficult. Unless an article grabs my attention, I’m probably not going to open it. This is the important thing to get a reader to click on your article. The more clicks you get on your article, the higher chance you have to sell your product or promote your idea.

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