How to keep your headlines positive

It can be easy to reflexively write headlines about ‘mistakes,’ ‘pitfalls,’ and ‘failures.’ Those words can bring the audience down. Try for something a little cheerier.


It’s time to kill the “headline fear factor.”

Anyone who writes or produces content could be guilty of spewing fear throughout communities. Bright, well-educated, and good-intentioned people who are cognizant of the power of headlines and SEO have followed the media’s poor example of sharing negativity to get people’s attention.

I was a news reporter and news director for 10 years. I have zero tolerance for newscasts and talk shows that work hard to drag us down.

Last week, the TV weatherman declared: “More rain tomorrow means another dismal day in…” It’s rain, not the damn plague.

Yes, horrific things happen. Yes, headlines may sell. But the world just doesn’t need any more negative crap to digest. If you don’t believe me, listen closer to what we’re being told. Remember the weatherman I just described.

Flip this

Are you writing posts and titles with words such as “pitfalls” and “mistakes”?

Let’s flip things around. I encourage you to use language that reflects a positive and helpful attitude.

Set the tone with words that are upbeat and encouraging. Leave the blunders, mistakes, and failures for someone else.

Consider these examples:

  1. “7 Mistakes Parents Make When Selecting Colleges” can be changed to “7 Tips to Selecting the Best College for Your Child”
  2. “Common Missteps that Small Business Owners Make Their First Year” can be flipped to “Tips for Small Business Success.”
  3. “10 Pitfalls of Social Media Campaigns” can be reworded to “10 Successful Social Media Strategies.”

The headlines and titles of your articles, blogs, and programs are the magnet to draw readers and potential business into your pipeline. Pique interest with emotional and positive words and phrases that speak directly to your readers and their success.

Using positive language and an upbeat tone instead of scare tactics and poison will have a subtle but important impact. We need more hope and less pessimism in our world.

Today’s takeaway: Be the fountain, not the drain.

Susan Young is author of the Kindle book “The Badass Book of Social Media and Business Communication.” She also blogs at Get In Front Communications, where a version of this story first appeared.

(image via)

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