Tidbit of the Day: How to write awesome headlines

For all of you SEO folks out there, I just have one thing to say to you:

Fooey. These are real headlines.

Courtesy of Todd Andrlik.


  1. Robquig

    Nice presentation. I was a copy editor in a former life, and I’ve written thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of headlines. There is good advice in this presentation, though I would NOT write the headline first. Read the story first, even if quickly. Too many headlines miss the point or misread the point of stories. The best explanation for that is often that people write a headline then breeze through the story.

  2. Bob Wieszcholek

    I understand the point of the presentation, which actually has relevance when writing just about anything. However, what I really enjoyed was reading some of the actual articles.

  3. Daniel

    Rob – I like having some sort of dummy headline in there, even though I always go back and change it after. Just a habit, I guess.

    Bob – Those definitely were some cool old stories, huh?

  4. Leigh Hanlon

    I agree with writing the headline first. This tried-and-true method has worked for movies, too. Something tells me that the film titles “The Thing With Two Heads” and “They Saved Hitler’s Brain” preceded the shooting scripts by a considerable length of time.

  5. Tom Whitwell

    Robquig: Thanks! The advice about writing the headline first was only for journalists – if you’re a sub editor / copy editor, you definitely have to read the story first. I’m still surprised that newspaper journalists can write a story with no idea what the headline might be or how it might be presented on the page.

  6. cannedguds

    I’m totally whacked out on this one! Actually, I was looking for some tips on how to make a resume but I think I need to drop that off for awhile and get to know more how to write headlines. maybe that way, any newspaper company can finally hire me for my skills which of course, this blog has contributed a lot! Thanks for sharing this!

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