As the nation continues to pray for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamiln, thousands of people frantically searched online for Damar’s condition updates. Among the hundreds of headlines, there was one that stood out to us. It read, “The Night The NFL Stopped.” Those powerful words had us clicking to read more. This got us thinking about headlines and subject lines and their importance.
A headline is a heading at the top of an article in a newsletter or page in a newspaper or magazine. A subject line is the space at the top of an email to let your reader know what the email is about. Your subject line can determine if your email gets opened. Finding the best headline or subject line for an email, press release, media alert or a story pitch can be challenging. Here are a few tips for writing a great headline or subject line.
- Summarize the subject matter: you only have one short line at the top of the page to get the main point of your story across. Boil this down to the point and incorporate that into your headline or subject line, so readers want to read for more details.
- Find the hook: the hook is to grab attention and give your reader a reason to invest their time and energy. You want your headlineor subject line to stand out. It needs to offer enough detail to intrigue readers, but doesn’t spoil the ending.
- Make an emotional appeal: this tip is more for a feature article that relies on the writer’s ability to keep a reader’s attention throughout the entire piece. Your headline is the first thing readers will see, so it needs to be packed with either a punch, an emotion, or even set up a question your readers want answered..
- Be straightforward: it may be tempting to write a vague headline or subject line that prompts readers to find out more, but you do not want to mislead your readers with a clickbait headline that doesn’t truly represent the content.