How to Write Engaging Headlines: Tips from Top News Writers
Are you struggling to capture the attention of your audience with your news headlines? Writing an engaging headline is crucial to the success of any news story. It is the first thing that readers see and can determine whether they will click on the article or not. In this article, we will discuss tips from top news writers on how to write engaging headlines that will grab the attention of your audience and increase engagement.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Short and sweet headlines are ideal for news stories. A headline should be concise, ideally between 8-12 words, and convey the main point of the article in a clear and catchy manner. For example, the New York Times headline “Trump, in Michigan, Attacks Governor Who Was Target of Kidnapping Plot” is short, to the point, and grabs the reader's attention with the mention of a kidnapping plot.
Use Strong Action Words
Using strong action words in your headline is an effective way to grab the reader's attention. Action words like “unveiled,” “revealed,” “exposed,” “announced,” and “discovered” create a sense of urgency and excitement. The Guardian's headline “UK to ban sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030” uses the action word “ban” to create a sense of urgency and importance.
Be Specific and Concrete
Being specific and concrete in your headline makes it more compelling and informative. The headline should provide the reader with a clear idea of what the article is about. For example, CNN's headline “Covid-19 is killing hispanics and Latinos at an alarming rate. Here's how to slow it down” is specific and concrete, providing the reader with a clear idea of what the article is about.
Use Numbers and Lists
Using numbers and lists in your headline can make it more engaging and informative. The use of numbers and lists in your headline can make it more actionable and tangible for the reader. For example, the Washington Post's headline “5 takeaways from Joe Biden's CNN town hall” uses numbers to provide the reader with a clear idea of what they can expect from the article.
Using questions in your headline is an effective way to pique the reader's curiosity and engage them in the article. For example, NBC News' headline “How will the COVID-19 vaccine get from the pharmacy to your arm?” uses a question to create a sense of intrigue and encourage the reader to find out more.
It is important to be honest and transparent in your headlines and provide the reader with accurate and informative content. Avoid using sensational or misleading headlines that do not accurately reflect the content of the article. The New Yorker's headline “How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety” is an example of clickbait that does not accurately reflect the content of the article.
Test and Iterate
Personal Story: The Power of a Headline
As a freelance writer, I had always struggled with coming up with catchy headlines that would grab my readers' attention. That was until I met Sarah, a fellow writer who had mastered the art of headline writing.
Sarah shared with me her secret – the power of a well-crafted headline. She recounted a story of how she had written an article on the benefits of meditation, but it wasn't getting much traction until she changed the headline from “Meditation: A Simple Practice for Better Health” to “7 Reasons Why You Should Start Meditating Today”.
The new headline immediately caught the attention of readers and the article went viral, receiving thousands of shares and likes. Sarah's experience taught me that headlines are the gateway to your content, and can make or break the success of your article.
After implementing Sarah's tips and tricks, I've seen a significant increase in engagement on my articles and have even had a few articles go viral myself. The power of a headline truly cannot be underestimated.
Testing and iterating your headlines can help you improve the engagement and performance of your articles over time. Use analytics tools to track the performance of your headlines and adjust them accordingly. A/B testing can also be an effective way to test different variations of your headline and see which one performs better.
In conclusion, writing engaging headlines is a crucial skill for any news writer. By keeping it short and sweet, using strong action words, being specific and concrete, using numbers and lists, using questions, avoiding clickbait, and testing and iterating, you can write headlines that grab the reader's attention and entice them to read your article. Remember to use the examples provided by top news stories to create compelling headlines that will increase engagement and readership.
Answers To Common Questions
Q. What makes a headline engaging?
A. It should be clear, concise, and provoke curiosity.
Q. Who writes the headlines for news articles?
A. Usually, the journalist who wrote the article creates the headline.
Q. How do headlines affect readership?
A. Engaging headlines can increase readership and attract attention.
Q. What if I don't have a catchy headline?
A. Try using puns, questions, or numbers to make it more interesting.
Q. How can I measure the success of my headline?
A. Track clicks, shares, and engagement on social media.
Q. What if my headline is misleading?
A. Avoid misleading headlines as they can damage your reputation. Be honest and accurate.
The author of this article is a seasoned journalist with over 10 years of experience covering breaking news, political events, and human interest stories for major news outlets. Throughout their career, they have written countless headlines that have captured the attention of readers and driven engagement.
Their expertise in headline writing is backed by extensive research on the psychology of reading and attention spans. They have studied the impact of different headline styles on reader engagement and have conducted surveys and experiments to test the effectiveness of various techniques.
The author has also interviewed top news writers and editors to gain insights into their headline writing strategies and best practices. They have analyzed the headlines of award-winning articles and identified common patterns and techniques that make them successful.
Overall, the author's experience and research make them a credible source for anyone looking to improve their headline writing skills and create engaging content.