Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Tea & Tips - Advice from a PR Expert on The importance of a good headline


It’s Wednesday again, which means the next post in my mini-series of business and marketing tips from my PR expert friend, Rachel Burks.  If you missed the previous posts in the series you can catch up by clicking the links here:

Here's Rachel with today's subject...

The importance of a good headline

A headline is arguably the most important thing about a story. A good headline grabs the readers’ attention and makes them want to read on. It should be short and snappy, often alliteration or puns work well.

Tabloid newspapers are particularly keen on using witty headlines. Here are three of our favourite examples from The Sun and the reasons why they were so effective:

Freddie Starr ate my hamster – The Sun, March 1986.

One of the most famous headlines of all time, this is effective because of its incredulity. Shock is another successful tool in headline writing. While people might not remember the finer details of the story, the headline certainly sticks in the memory.

How do you solve a problem like Korea? – The Sun, October 2006.

Reacting to North Korea’s nuclear test, The Sun borrowed a well-known phrase from musical film, The Sound of Music. It’s also a nod to popular culture as a reality TV programme called ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria?’ was being broadcast at the time. It’s a great play on words, although possibly viewed as trivalising a very important issue at the time.

Brown Toast – The Sun, April, 2010

After then Prime Minister Gordon Brown was recorded referring to a female voter as a ‘bigot’, The Sun decided on a short and sweet headline. Keeping things simple can be very effective and helps to create something memorable too.

So the next time you write a press release remember that the header can be just as important as the contents. However also take care with the audience you are appealing to as what may be humorous to some may not appeal to others.

Thank you Rachel – next week she will be sharing some Tea and Tips with me about the value of twitter, I hope you can join us.

Best wishes