Improve Your Headlines – Read Tabloids

January 7, 2010

I was in the check-out line at the grocery store, reading the headlines on the tabloids, when one struck me so that I laughed out loud. The check-out clerk asked about my sudden outburst. I was a little embarrassed, but told him anyway. Then he shared that his friend had recently gone to work for The National Enquirer after leaving what one might consider a more reputable position. “She makes a LOT of money,” he shared.

Then he said something else – something disturbing. “Tabloids will be the only print items to make it.” Wow!

Why are tabloids like National Enquirer so riveting? They use such sensationalized headlines that often have nothing to do with the article inside. They do their best to show the worst in people. And really, can we be sure that they do not make up stuff?

Tabloids are adept at playing to our emotions. They reel us in before we even realize what has happened. And we all have some reaction to those crazy headlines. Whether it be the latest Angelina / Brad scandal, or something about the White House, we are drawn in by the headlines. How do they do it?

Headlines need to be intriguing and easily understood at the same time. Tabloid headlines are great examples. They create all sorts of emotions, even if you believe they are complete garbage.

The next time you are stuck on a headline, or want some practice writing a good one, take a tabloid headline and rewrite it to fit your subject. You’ll learn how they use emotional words and topics. While the resulting headlines may not be fit for use, you will have delved into writing a more emotional, controversial headline. Good practice for when we need to craft a compelling headline for your own use.

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