The subject, as you’ve surely guessed, is practice writing for headlines. The crafting of great press release- and news article-toppers was a long, lost art until Twitter showed up and everyone started thinking like a headline-writer.
Since headlines are supposed to be short, sweet and to-the-point, I won’t belabor the discussion here, especially when this wonderful article by Jessica Levco, “5 tips for writing the sexiest, most stimulating headlines EVER!,” is available here.
The only thing I’ll add to Ms. Levco’s piece is that the best headlines aren’t necessarily the funniest or most clever – what’s key is capturing the essence of the content (news story, press release, tweet) that follows. In an oversaturated world of information, this is the best service you’ll provide your potential audiences. Help them, and refrain from annoying them by wasting their time, and even your headlines can define you as a valuable resource.
Around my office, we’re in awe of The Economist’s headers and captions. Smart, observant, funny, brief-but-encapsulating, they rarely put a foot wrong. Between pages 58 and 83 of one issue, I found a half-dozen great headlines and captions, including “Guttbye Guttenberg” over a story on the resignation of Germany’s defense minister because of allegations of plagiarism – the photo caption read “Copy, alt, delete.”
In the meantime, those of us who suffer from headline-writer’s-block (yes, that’s me), can practice on our Twitter accounts.