10 questions to help you write better headlines

I already have some handouts on writing titles for web pages and writing titles for college papers. I don’t (at the moment) have a full handout on writing headlines for news stories. In this age of clickbait (“Clickbait Tactics Drive the Writing of Headlines on ABC News,” 2015), revisiting Poynter’s advice on writing traditional news headlines is worthwhile. Clickbait headlines generate visits, but they don’t generate shares or trust.

If you need any proof about the power of headlines, consider this: what do you imagine drew the majority of people to this post? Chances are that you and others made the decision to click here after coming across the headline. So I’m not going to dwell on why headlines are important. | Instead, I want to give you a checklist, a quick heuristic diagnostic you can refer to anytime you want to make your headlines sing. Print out the list if you’d like, put it by your desk. But I recommend putting every headline you write through this gamut of questions until they become second nature. Poynter