Catchy headlines No. 1 reason people read stories
While presenting a headline-writing workshop at Farm Credit Bank recently, I was charmed by one participant’s rewrite.
The story was about the fact that, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, banks feel more comfortable giving 15-year mortgages rather than the traditional 30. The original headline certainly captured the story:
Drives Shorter Loan Terms
But Kristin Mattox, FCB marketing director, rewrote the headline and deck to catch attention and make readers want more:
15 is the new 30
Market risk drives shorter loan terms
Catchy headlines draw readers.
And that’s important. Because a catchy headline is the No. 1 reason Americans choose to read a story in full, whether in print or online (54%), according to a recent Harris poll.
Brainstorm catchy headlines.
To write a catchy feature headline, do your homework.
Before Upworthy, a newish site that shares “things that matter,” posted this headline …
“What Are Selena Gomez And Justin Bieber
Doing In The House Of Representatives?”
… the team brainstormed 25 alternative titles, including:
Would The Founding Fathers
Be Proud Of The Fact
That Our Political System
Has Come To This?
What Do Geraldo Rivera, Selena Gomez,
Jeremy Lin, And Sonia Sotomayor
Have In Common?
Why Isn’t Justin Bieber
Proud To Be American?
One simple way to come up with better headlines is to come up with more headlines. Get tips for better brainstorming meetings.
Build better headlines.
That’s one reason the writers at Wylie Communications develop several headlines before sending copy to our writing clients. The last ones we come up with are usually the best.
For instance, here’s a twist-of-phrase headline Dawn Grubb wrote for a piece about Saint Luke’s Hospital’s Auxiliary:
Our dedicated volunteers raise funds to help
Saint Luke’s thrive and care for area patients
How can you write catchy headlines that sell your stories to your readers?