Four Tips for Crafting an Attention-Grabbing Headline

Four Tips for Crafting an Attention-Grabbing Headline

It’s April Fools’ Day, but instead of tricks, we are here to give you some tips to help when you are writing your next headline. When crafting a headline, there are many things to consider when trying to grab your audience’s attention. Writing a headline can be a tricky task, but hopefully, these four tips will help on your next go-around.

 

Tip #1: Ask the Right Questions

 

Who is your audience?

Knowing your audience is the foundation for good communication. When you write a headline, think about what you know about your audience and what kind of action statement might pique their interest to keep reading. For example, if your piece was published in a “Mom’s Only” magazine, you might want to consider that moms can be very busy, so a quick action headline might do the trick. The main idea is to connect with your audience and create a headline that speaks to them so they want to read more.

 

How long can my headline be?

You want to capture the readers’ attention quickly, and to do so, you should consider keeping your headline between one to two lines (lines as in the width of a page, not sentences); the rule of thumb is between 3-10 words. Once you have the reader’s attention, you have a short amount of engagement time, since the average time frame for an individual’s attention span is about 8 seconds. When you keep the headline short, it will give the reader a glimpse of what they can gain from the full copy.

 

Tip #2: Consider Word Variety

The words you choose can change the urgency or the way a headline reads. Words that appeal to readers’ feelings or senses are more likely to grab attention. Also, using verbs can elevate and give life to your headline. For example, “Stocks Were High on Saturday” to “Stocks Were Roaring on Saturday,” may be more enticing to readers.

Another rule-of-thumb for crafting effective headlines is to use simple, straightforward words. A descriptive verb, as noted above, can be more attention-grabbing than complex or buzzwords words. Keep in mind, your headline also does not necessarily need to follow standard grammatical rules. That said, when you choose your words, you may want to consider some of these widely accepted rules to ensure you craft a reader-friendly headline. 

Sometimes, however, the right words may seem elusive. If you are having trouble getting started, or feel stuck, don’t panic. If you have the time, set the task aside and come back to it later. Another trick is to just start writing. Write anything, no matter how silly, to help get your creative juices flowing again. Or, go online to read headlines in some of your favorite publications or sites. Doing that may give you the boost you need to create your own catchy headline. 

 

Tip #3: Use Numbers

If you can slip relevant numbers in your headline, you may be surprised by the difference it makes. As we did for this piece’s headline, numbers are an effective way to draw in your audience. Numbers attract the eye because they automatically organize information into a logical order, which our brains love! They also give order to what is to come in the article and help the audience know what to expect.

The rule usually is that if you are writing any number below 10, it should be spelled out, but in the case of headlines, this rule can be overlooked to save time for the reader. Some even say the ordinal form has more attraction, but we’ll let you be the judge of that based on these headline examples: “Seven Kittens Rescued from Burning Building” or “7 Kittens Rescued from Burning Building.” Which seems better to you?

 

Tip #4: Let the TACT Test Be Your Guide

When you are writing a headline, it may be helpful to review it to check and make sure it passes the TACT test, which is outlined below. 

Taste. Is your headline tasteful? Will it offend anyone?

Attractiveness. Does it attract the reader? What might you do to make it even stronger?

Clarity. Is it clear and concise? Are there any phrases that can be replaced with one word?

Truth. Is it truthful? Can anything be misconstrued?

Remember, your headline can be a condensed version of the story that follows. Its main purpose is to get the rest of the story read. Every word counts, so following the TACT guidelines can help you think about the value and meaning of each word – and if there’s an opportunity to choose an even stronger, compelling word to draw in readers. 

 

 

At-A-Glance Checklist

To make these tips easier to refer to, use this handy checklist to help you create effective and attention-grabbing headlines.

  • Use action words/verbs
  • Keep your headline between three to 10 words
  • Consider what will motivate your audience 
  • Include numbers when possible 
  • Check your headline using TACT

We hope this helps the next time you need to write a headline, and inspires you to create the one that grabs the most attention. 

Four Tips For Crafting an Attention-Grabbing Headline
Tips for Creating iPhone Videos

Tips for Creating iPhone Videos

Updated for 2019! Creating share-worthy videos is easy!

The primary update to these tips is in regards to #4 below, shoot horizontally. With more and more social media (and website usage) being consumed on smartphones, it is not ALWAYS best to film horizontally. According to this post by Covideo, 94% of smartphone videos are consumed vertically…people simply aren’t willing (or able in the case of many apps like Twitter and Instagram) to turn their phones. So shooting vertically may be best when your target channel is social and your social audience consumes your content on their phone.

If you don’t want to invest in buying equipment or can’t wait for it to arrive, you can certainly create iPhone videos without any extra gear all by yourself. The video below was created without using external equipment and handheld by the speaker (me). No tripod, no external microphone, no special lighting. It’s really pretty easy to get a post-worthy video with just a little thought.

You can also view the video on YouTube for some tips on taking videos with an iPhone (or most any smartphone) including:

  1. Be aware of your lighting. Shooting outside (be sure the sun is not directly behind you) or near windows is good if you do not have lighting equipment.
    • Take a sample video to see how it looks. Experiment using the phone’s flash, or the flash of a second phone.
  2. Do not use your phone’s zoom (zoom the old fashion way by moving toward or away from your subject).
  3. Use your “exposure lock” on an iPhone (and most other smartphones).
    • This is done by touching your screen to “lock” in on your subject, hold your touch until it displays “AE/AF LOCK” which will help keep the lens from changing the exposure (how much light it lets in) automatically.
  4. Shoot horizontally.
    • Unless the primary purpose is for social media feeds (vertical shots do not play well on websites, but social users on mobile prefer vertical)
  5. Have a steady hand or prop your phone on something stable.
    • Or you can use a tripod (you can find a great one for around $20). Check Amazon Prime for a variety of options.
  6. Place the phone’s microphone close to your subject.
    • Or get an external microphone, we use a clip-on lavalier with an extension cord.

You can also easily step up your production value by investing a little (certainly under $100) by purchasing a tripod &/or external microphone. The following video was taken using a tripod and external microphone (again, no extra/special lighting). The set-up used to film the below video included a tripod, lapel microphone and extension cord, all for about $50.

Quick Tips for Creating an iPhone Video (w/ tripod and microphone) from Veracity Marketing on Vimeo.

Once you have recorded your video, see our tips to edit your videos and tips on uploading and publishing your videos.

 

 

Networking Tips for Your Next Holiday Party

Networking Tips for Your Next Holiday Party

‘Tis the season for the holiday party. Whether you love the office mixer or dread another December full of evening obligations, you are likely going to a few seasonal get-togethers. Interested in spending that time wisely to further your career or business? Here are eight networking tips for your next holiday party:

1. Show up. 90% of success is showing up, right?

Some holiday events are basically mandatory, while others you may not HAVE to go to but you should. Yes, we are all busy, but many of these events only come around once a year and if you want to expand your network, show up. If you are unable to attend an event you are expressly invited to be sure to send a pleasant note that you can’t make it. Also, if the event has a charitable component (food drive, gift donation, etc.), consider still donating if you can’t attend, the host will be appreciative.

2. Have fun.

No one wants to hang with the sour-faced guy. If you really don’t want to be there, don’t go…however.

You don’t have to be the life of the party. Unless you are in the PR department, then promotion is your job!

3. When should I get there?

Like most things in life, it depends…Here are my guidelines for a few different types of gatherings:

Office Party

(informal at the office or offsite, during the workday or right after work)

Arrive on time and plan to stay for a couple hours or until the official end time. Don’t stick around too long.

Company Party

(more formal at a private residence or swanky establishment, evening start time)

It’s good form to be a little late to a company party being held at a private home. Like any party, your hosts are likely running a little behind and you being the first to show up isn’t a great look. Plan to stay for a few hours, but also try and be flexible with your curfew. If you are having a great time and bonding with new contacts, it’s a shame to have to leave just to get home for a babysitter that doesn’t really care anyway.

Client or Vendor Party

Totally depends on your relationship — if you are going to do a flyby and not stay very long, try and add a few extra minutes so it doesn’t seem like you are in and out. Make a point to connect and say hello to the person that invited you as soon as you can.

4. Participate and dress appropriately.

Participate? Many holiday events have a theme or predetermined activity. If the event is an ugly sweater, wear your ugliest. If it’s a food or toy drive, bring a donation. Secret Santas and White Elephants are fun, try and plan ahead a little so you can have a good gift.

If you don’t know the attire ask someone who has gone before or use a little common sense based on the time, location and culture of the host(s).

Phyllis from accounting

© NBC Universal, Inc

5. Talk to NEW people, including +1’s

You can always plan an after party with your bros…or really, you probably see them enough the rest of the year.

Since you’re reading this post, I assume you’re interested in networking. If so, get outside your inner circle and meet new people. The holiday party is a great way to get to know your boss, Phyllis from accounting or the new intern. Not only is it good form to engage with your co-workers’ guests, you may find a great connection outside of The Office.

5a. Ask questions and actually listen to the answers.

Don’t expect to know what to talk about offhand. Have a variety of topics ready to go and spend a little time thinking about what you’d say. If someone asks you a question, answer and reciprocate. Here are a few suggestions for non-worky topics:

  • What’s the best book you read this year?
  • Do you listen to podcasts? What are you currently listening to?
  • Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation?

The list can go on and on, talk about what you are interested in. TV shows, sports, holiday travel plans, etc. It is ok to get intimate and into a real conversation, at least for a little while, but probably best to avoid politics.

6. Have an exit plan.

When it is time to go (see #3) be sure to find the host to thank them and say goodbye. Also, if there is a party planning committee, thank them and consider a thank you gesture because putting on these events is a lot of work. You can also follow-up with an email or handwritten note. If you feel like you need to sneak away, you are leaving too early.

Office Christmas Party

Glen Wilson / Paramount Pictures

7. Know your limits.

What list of holiday networking tips would be complete without this one? However, there seems to always be a few partygoers that hit it a little too hard. If you do need to get your drink on, save it for the after party or grandma’s house. That way you won’t end up like Clay and Walter at ZenoTek.

 

BONUS HOST TIP: Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverage choices. While everyone wants to have a good time, not everyone wants beer, wine or…water. This also goes a long way in helping people stick to their limits. Most people want to have a drink in their hand and if there are lots of options (a signature booze-less drink perhaps) they aren’t as likely to overindulge.

8. You are an adult, get home like one.

Featured image courtesy of AMC