Five Tips For Fab Headlines


October 21, 2015 by Kathryn Kuttis


No one likes to be misled. This is especially true for readers. Tabloids are notorious for advertising a cover story that they don’t actually have. Women’s beauty magazines use headlines to make claims that just don’t materialize once you get inside. The online community is vast but it gets smaller once you start to blog. Readers will quickly get to know your style and either appreciate your content or move on to someone else’s.

Here are a few tips for writing effective headlines for your blog:

  1. Be transparent about what you have to offer. Use the headline to accurately describe the blog post you’ve written.
  2. Avoid exaggeration and high expectations. It’s better to surprise your audience than to disappoint them.
  3. Make it pop by using strong clear language that establishes value.
  4. Keep it short. Play with alliteration.
  5. Revise your headline AFTER you complete your post.

While a strong headline can bring a reader to your blog post, it’s even more important to offer them compelling and timely content.

For students in J452, use the links below to identify a trend or issue that relates to your blog. Draw inspiration from the article but be sure to add both your own point of view and any links that might enable the reader to learn more about the issue on their own. Develop creative associations and connect information for your reader. Also give back to the conversation happening out there by reading, liking and commenting on other blog posts.

Here are the blog kernels for this week:

Zappos CEO Distances Shoe Retailer’s Culture From Amazon (WSJ) After an article in the NYTs called Amazon out for its treatment of employees the reaction is still happening. How are PR strategists at Amazon and Zappos treating the story?

6 ways PR pros can adapt to smaller newsrooms (PRDaily) The newspaper business has changed. How can PR change with it?

The ‘Star Wars’ trailer is finally here (MarketWatch) With interest at fever pitch, Disney decided to reveal its trailer during a Monday Night Football game. Lucky for them they own ESPN too. How do media companies cross promote using their own platforms?

The obesity paradox: Why Coke is promoting a theory that being fat won’t hurt your health (Vox) How is Coke working to keep its customers? Is consumer knowledge making big food obsolete. Which experts are supporting their claims?

How to Tell If Someone Wants to Stop Talking to You ( Networking is an essential skill for communications professionals. What are some tips for students?
Canada to end airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, new prime minister Trudeau says (TheGuardian) Anyone following the elections in Canada? What will this mean for the US race? How could US politicians and the media using the win to their advantage?

Black Lives Matter’s disruptive tactics test L.A. leaders (LATimes) How should civic leaders respond to disruptiv protests? When a social media movement draws attention to an issue what’s the right response?

Who’d Be a Journalist? (NYTs) SOJC faculty member Hector Tobar wrote an Op-Ed about the power of storytelling and the draw of journalism for our students. Why is this article important for the SOJC? What should our communications team do with it?

Rural Alabama Judge Gives Penniless Defendants the Option to Give Blood or Go to Jail (Slate) What are the ethical concerns raised by this court’s decision? How do citizens who can’t pay fines end up with jail time instead? What groups want to reverse this trend and what are they saying?

Jay Z Chats, Performs “Empire State of Mind” on “Kimmel” (Pitchfork) How does a late night talk show support a celebrities image? Do you think the interview questions are planned or spontaneous?

How to avoid looking like a jerk on international business trips (USAToday) What tips can you offer students and PR professionals that are flying out of the country?

High school graduation rates are on the rise in most states (WashingtonPost) How is the US Education Secretary positioning progress in US schools?


2 thoughts on “Five Tips For Fab Headlines

  1. eeccasas says:

    I’m so excited about the ‘Star Wars’ article! Thank you.

  2. whittrob000 says:

    Great tips. The most trouble I had with my first post was coming up with a good headline. Now I know!

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If you share an interest in public relations, media and visual design, this might be a good place for you to hang out. I started this blog to exchange ideas with my students at the University of Oregon. They keep me (and maybe you too) at the forefront of social media, visual communication and career development. Here you'll find our best ideas, links and learning as we write, create and blog our way through a course on Strategic PR Communication.

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