Tuesday, August 4, 2009


  • Which one?

    It can be to both. It depends.

    Wonder how?

    Read on to get my take on this…

    I read several article on how to write great headlines. I felt there is no need to dwell on those aspects. Rather, I would restrict to my own experiences which sure will give just another perspective, on the much highlighted but little understood concept of headline writing.

    I think before we actually go in to the nitty gritty of headline writing, let’s first find out why all of us read. What is there for us to learn or how do we take interest in a particular thing to read. The answers to these questions may give us the depth to understand this concept.

    Why do WE READ?

    -We all read to gain some perspectives on some aspects - to learn, or find solutions to our problems. Or, for relaxation. But the internet is flooded with much literature on the same subject. If you look deep at it, it doesn’t have a PERSONAL TOUCH (majority of it). Don’t get me wrong many of them. But, personal anecdote or experience which gives us a glimpse of another angle or perspective is what we are all looking for. Isn’t it?

    I read an article on headlines how to write a better headline. I read many of them even if I had a reasonable experience writing one.
    I still want to glean a new perspective which will add to my arsenal of solutions and knowledge, and which comes to my aid while writing one.

    Personal tone in the headline with emotion – triggers our interest.

    How do WE LEARN?

    -We often learn through experience- sometimes through our’s, and other times through someone else’s. I need to know how others feel and how others faced a problem and overcame it.
    I want to see how others experience and write a better headline.

    The most important point is to cast my mind on the EXPERIENCE.

    How do our hearts react?

    -Our hearts are sensitive. Often we work by our hearts, and leave the mind to the backburner. Sometimes vice versa. At times, keep the mind alert (especially when we really struggle hard and there is emergency) and lull our heart to rest.

    But mostly we tend to listen to our hearts, and we decide on this. And so is reading.
    There is a sure way to a person’s heart is through emotions.

    After little thought about all these simple yet funny questions you can understand what determines our reading and our curiosity. Needless to say … what is IT that clicks in a headline. We work with our hearts primarily and we are here to unwrap the mysteries. Learning is nothing but unraveling the layers of assumptions and finally see the TRUTH.

    Then what should you do to be read, to make your headline shine in the dizzy noise?

    Tune it to the HEART
    So headlines should act as the emotion triggers. It’s by telling that HERE is another angle or WAYof how to handle a particular situation. For that to happen we need to show a glimpse of the emotion in the headline.

    My experiences writing a great headline:

    Here “my experiences” sound that here is a perspective.

    How do “I” overcome the headline writing drain?

    Here you’re trying to woo the heart of the reader to see what it is that really bailed him/her out.

    It “took me a simple trick” to crack the best of headline

    Headline writing isn’t a mystery anymore for me

    Here you can quote the famous headline of David Ogilvy "They laughed when I sat down at the piano"

    Tuning it to the heart means
    Show empathy
    When you say it’s tough to write a line. The reader feels that “here is someone
    who undergoes the same pain”, and also someone “who is experiencing the same
    feeling as me”.

    Show the pain
    The mental trauma of undergoing a pain is what makes us immediately to relate. If you say writing a headline or learning to train a dog to obey rules, or making a kid stick to a timetable routine… all these activities are so painful unless you know the trick to do them.

    I saw one great headline in Copyblogger saying…”The Most Horrible Blog Post ever”

    Show the jubilation
    The reader relates with your joy. The joy of overcoming something- the eureka feeling. Try to depict this emotion in the headline. The reader immediately likes to take it up and read.

    Tune it to the MIND
    Its two way process. Many times we get curious when we see there is simple and easy way. If it’s easy for us to learn or do the whole stuff, we tend to go for it. Isn’t it? If I say you can get rich in 10 days. The “10” days is a hook. Your mind gets stuck there. You wanted to see how and why.

    So also you can tune your headline to the mind with some ways where the solution you’re giving is easy. The solution we offer is way simple.

    Here are some examples we can quote:

    ‘3 simple techniques to overcome the headline writing agony’

    ‘You can do it in plain 3 simple techniques to crack the code’.

    ‘Take this route of hassle free 20 fold income gain in 4 weeks… or’

    Using some adjectives and some ad verbs too help the mind get hooked. Here it is how:

    Three easiest ways of getting the math correct

    How to become the most georgeous lady in shortest time?

    Readers vary; and so is your tone

    I for one am very sensitive and always look for emotion infused headlines. I always like to see how someone struggling hard to do something came out successful. I look in headlines this emotion of succeeding at something in spite of hardships, and also in my general reading, too.

    It means that you can write headlines or heartlines based on the tone of the topic or the demographics of your readers. Some write ups are straight without any dose of drama, and rattles off information. The whole article has lots of bullet points. For those articles which are with quick dosage of ready to consume information headlines (which are tuned to the mind) like…. how to… why ….where or denoting numericals – 1, 2, 3 tips to make it easy … kinda headlines.

    Start off with TOPIC as your headline tentatively

    Most of us look for a good headline and start off writing the article. But, I feel it’s always better to write a dummy headline first which says about the topic first, and start writing the article or post.

    As you’re writing the article your mind starts rolling in different directions thinking on the topic in unknown angles you never expected, and suddenly that thought can be the real pull of the article and that ONE THOUGHT will be your headline.

    If you infuse some emotion into it, it sure touches the chords of the readers. And that heartline starts tugging the heart strings and never let you pass it off.

    For example if you’re writing an article on leadership. You may be thinking of some headlines initially like these (since these are the kind of headlines which are mostly fed in to your subconscious mind….. A leader you always wanted to be
    Making of a leader

    The qualities of a great leader

    Here is a way to become a leader

    Does anyone of them touch the chords of the reader. The reader might think that here is another kind of an article which talks about the dos and don’ts of a leader.

    Live like a LEADER to make others leaders!

    How does this headline feel when you write a headline for leadership?

    This headline comes in the process of writing a write up, but not at the first instance. Often we like to write a headline and start off. Okay… have one at the first instance which shows your topic of discussion.

    This headline is one which hits

    Finally place yourself in the place of the reader

    Assume that it’s not written by you and you’re reading it for the first time. How do you like it? To get to know this, you place the write up and headline somewhere where you’ll find it or keep it open on the laptop and system like that, and read it as if you haven’t written it, or reading it for the first time.

    If it interests in the first glance it works out. Otherwise, work on another headline with the twist in words and keeping the emotional trigger loaded.

    I believe every one of us is a reader, and I can very well understand how a headline can influence me. So are you. But, the trick is you won’t think from the readers point of view.

    Check out these links to great articles on how to write great headlines. Go ahead write beautiful headlines which make readers immediately open them up and read. Cheers!




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