12 Tips for journalists to write effective headlines

Last week, we took a look at building and tapping a Delicious network to find useful links. I started this week by looking at my Delicious network and found a slew of recent links about search engine optimization and headline writing tucked away in Jack Lail’s bookmarks (read about Jack Lail).

I’ve gone through Lail’s saved pages, found the ones that contain solid tips for writing headlines, and listed those links below. First, here is a presentation that Lail saved.

  1. How to Write Headlines That Work (Copyblogger)
  2. Passive Voice Is Redeemed For Web Headings (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)
  3. SEO For Journalists: Headlines & Body Copy (Part 2 of 5) (YOUmoz)
  4. A journalist’s guide to SEO (Econsultancy)
  5. Headline writing for online audiences (and search engines) (Teaching Online Journalism)
  6. 9 Tips to Improve Search Engine Optimization (MediaShift)
  7. Newspapers: Headline writing, use search engine optimization (Editors Weblog)
  8. How to Get Half a Million People to Visit Your Blog (Condomunity.com)
  9. How To Write Great SEO Headlines – Put Yourself In Their Shoes (DeanHunt.com)
  10. Newspaper SEO tips: Effective headlines (patrickbeeson.com)
  11. Headline writing: How to write web headlines that catch search engine spiders (New Media Bytes)

What about this post?

I realize that this blog post doesn’t contain 12 tips. Instead, it links to one presentation and 11 other articles and blog posts that contain helpful suggestions. So, my SEO-savvy friends, what would be a better title for this post? Please leave your suggestions as a comment.

One thought on “12 Tips for journalists to write effective headlines

  1. "12 links on how to write killer headlines"?

    I love the slideshow. I think the two big keys for journalists to understand are: (1) The internet separated headlines from stories and (2) On the web, we know which headlines work.

    I get a lot of push-back from journalists who don't want their headlines changed, but it's like, look, if you have a bad headline, you're hiding your story—the thing that you spent the bulk of your time on—from prospective readers. Do you wanna be "clever," or do you wanna get read?

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