In order to gain good readership, you have to have the ability to write good, interesting headlines in order to make the reader want to continue reading your story. I consider the headline to be the most important aspect of an article, it is the first impression that you make to your readers, which deserves a decent amount of thinking time!
Of course, it is not just an article that requires the headline thought process, blog posts, book chapters, even dissertations all need to make the reader want to continue reading your handy work. The main question that you need to consider throughout the entire writing process is ‘would this make me want to read on?‘, if it doesn’t, don’t put it in!
There are various different methods of writing headlines and various different types of headlines, it all depends on the nature of the story which method you choose to use to construct it.
1. Direct Headlines
As the word ‘direct’ suggests, these types of headlines don’t beat around the bush, but instead sum up the story in a matter of words. For example ‘50% off all stock all weekend’.
2. Indirect Headlines
Indirect headlines are used to raise the curiosity of the reader, they pull the audience in and the content of the story fills in the rest of the information. Indirect headlines use a variety of different ways to interest the reader such as:
- Play on words
- Figures of speech
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Miley Cyrus and her very strange and erratic behaviour, especially the stunt she pulled at the MTV EMA’s that were being held in Amsterdam. For those that don’t know what happened, Miley won an award for Best Music Video for her song Wrecking Ball, as she was giving her speech she proceeding to pull a joint out of her bag and light it up on stage. I read an article in the Metro whilst on the bus with the headline that read ‘Miley High Club’. This is a great example of an indirect headline, as I’m sure most of the people reading this blog post will know what mile high club means, and the obvious misleading meaning it has in terms of this story!
3. News Headline
This is kind of self-explanatory, as long as the news itself is actually news! This could be a product announcement, software updates. A great example of this type of headline is ‘Apple Release New Iphone 5s’
4. How to Headline
This is one of the most popular types of headlines as it is easy to gain readership with the promise that help is going to be provided for a topic the reader is not too sure about. This headline is very popular online and offline and a perfect example for this type of headline is, well, this blog post!
5. A Question Headline
This type of headline has to do more than ask a question. The question needs to be worthwhile and appropriate to the story and has to spark up some good answers in the readers mind that compliments the body of the article. Ideally the reader can empathise with the question and would like to see it answered. A good example of a question headline would be ‘Are You Tired of the Same Old Shopping Routine?’. After a question headline there needs to be instant recognition of the question, so the first paragraph of the content needs to have the answer before the information, for example ‘If so, then come to the new shopping centre here at … and let us revolutionise your shopping world!‘
6. The Command Headline
This basically tells the readers what to do. It is a simple headline option, and often helps get the results the author wants. The first word of this type of headline should be a strong verb demanding action, for instance ‘Subscribe to AKavanagh PR Today!‘