Hook ’em with a headline

thYou’ve finished the story. Your job is done.

Not so fast. What good is the story if no one ever reads it?

How do you get them to read your work? With a great hook!

Good headlines get your attention and lead the reader into the story. They need action. Bad headlines are just basic labels – think “Board meeting held.”

Less is more in a headline. A good rule of thumb is they shouldn’t have more than eight words. Use decks (or subheads) if you need more. Decks provide a way to get more information out without making the headline too long. Use the headline to get the attention and the deck to sell the story.

Headlines should be clever, not cutesy.

Here’s six tips to make your headlines reel in the readers:

  1. Use active voice
  2. Use present tense (immediacy – storm pounds town/ not pounded)
  3. Use short words
  4. Be specific (vague is dull)
  5. Watch punctuation – steer away from it if you can
  6. Play with your words. Pull words from your story. Twist clichés, but don’t use these all the time. It has its place just like alliteration or repetition.

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