Pop Quiz! How many travel writers believe the sole purpose of a headline is “to grab a reader’s attention?” The music from the game show JEOPARDY is now playing in the background. We need your answer…
Put your pens down because time is up. Well, 98 out of 100 travel writers believe that a headline’s purpose is to grab the reader’s attention. Nice try! Applause! Applause!
The good news is that you are not totally wrong. According to Will Newman of the AWAI, “The problem here is that most writers stop at this very restricted view of headlines and never get beyond it. A great headline has to do far more than simply grab attention.”
Will Newman received these two headlines in his mailbox:
Headline #1: Hot, Throbbing Sex Instantly!
You can have your pick of any woman you want once you know the secret to … [headline continues]
Headline #2: 10-Cent Tummy Tuck puts plastic surgeons out of work!
Proven “Missing link molecule” trims off masses of deadly belly fat as precisely as cosmetic surgery…
The first headline grabs a reader’s attention, but so does a car crash! The second headline is not as “in your face” as the first one, but it will pique a reader’s curiosity. The goal is to make the reader want to continue reading the article.
You may be asking yourself “what do these headlines have to do with travel writing?” They have everything to do with travel writing. Have you written articles in the past that do not receive consistent attention? Do you have a travel writing website? Are readers viewing your travel articles on a consistent or inconsistent basis? If there are any inconsistencies, you may want to re-read your headlines!
4 Clues to Writing Headlines
- A strong headline will develop a relationship with a reader.
- A strong headline will deliver a complete message.
- A strong headline will entice a reader to read more.
- A strong headline will grab a reader’s ATTENTION!
Let’s practice writing headlines with the “4 clues” from the above list:
Headline #1: Hot, Sexy Travel to Rio!
You can travel to Rio de Janeiro and have the most romantic time of your life once you…
Headline #2: $100 Dollar Round-Trip Airline Tickets puts travel agents out of business!
Brand new online travel website offers promotions that will knock the socks off of any traveler…
These are examples of how to write headlines by incorporating the “4 clues” from the above list. Practice writing your own headlines. Go back and review previously written headlines and see if you can improve them. You may be surprised!
In conclusion, follow these steps when writing headlines and you will increase readership. Are these the only steps to writing headlines? No, we have merely “scratched” the surface. Consider these “4 clues” to be the foundation of writing headlines. Once you have mastered these, you will be able to write more powerful headlines. Remember to keep writing and practice makes perfect!