Writers of every generation have labored over, thought about, dissected, and given advice about the ideal headline.
Sometimes the admonitions are more amusing than helpful. Like the old headline adage that goes: “Dog bites man? Ordinary. Man bites dog? We gotta headline!”
Advertising agencies come up with catchy headlines every day that are purposely created to capture the attention of target audiences.
In fact, the headline is the most important part of any written piece out there. Why? In short, if the headline doesn’t grab the reader, then it really doesn’t matter what the rest of the copy says.
According to the digital marketing experts at Fusion360, creating a headline for an ad, an article, a book, a blog post, or any other medium means, first of all, condensing the gist of the piece to just a few well-chosen words.
“Those words will entice,” says Taylor Hatch of Fusion360, “without giving away the whole story.”
The technique that Fusion360 writers use is to make an audience want answers about the questions imbedded in the headline.
“The best headlines leave a person wondering what is going to happen, preferably using one of the six magic words: who, what, where, when, why, and how,” says Hatch. “These six words are the perfect trap to capture anybody’s curiosity.”
Hatch cites the example of Seventeen Magazine’s article, “Why Miley’s the Best Prom Date.”
“The why in the headline creates the question: Who thinks Miley Cyrus is a good prom date?” writes Hatch. “That question will lead a person to read the article in order to get the answer.”
As human beings we want answers — in fact, we need answers. Every day, about a host of issues, readers are looking for answers.
A good headline poses a good question — one that a reader wants answered. The rest is all downhill.