Clickworthy: 11 ways to grab readers with headlines

Thrill readers the way Cosmo and National Enquirer do. Make the first five words count. And write for your friends, not some imaginary corporate target.

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What? Nobody’s clicking on your headlines, your email subject lines, or your tweets?

Maybe you have a readership of dunderheads who need a good shaking. Then again, maybe your headlines:

No offense.

In “Rope ’em in: How to write irresistible headlines in the age of social media,” learn from three experts in writing headlines that sizzle.

Andrew Lennie, a senior producer with WGN-TV in Chicago, tells you how to fix those clueless clunkers nobody clicks on. Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, reveals the secrets of how PR Daily and Ragan.com lure readers. And James Ylisela Jr., president and co-owner of Duff Media Partners, offers the take of a seasoned Chicago newsman and consultant.

Start, Ragan says, by asking yourself, “Would I open an email if this headline was a subject line in my inbox?”

Then consider these tips:

1. Borrow a page from Cosmo.

Consumer magazines such as Cosmopolitan offer examples on how to write a snappy headline (“Is He Cheating? How to Get Over Him”). Likewise, Diet & Exercise has a cover teaser titled, “10 pounds gone in 10 days!”

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