Shocking Headline Secrets from the NY Post


NY Post cover 12-29-11


How to Get  Readers to Spend Serious Time with Your Core Content

Be brief. Be complete. Be Enticing.

Headlines have always been important in print publications. They are even more important online.

They grab readers’ attention and lure them into reading entire articles.  If you have lots of great headlines, avid readers will linger much longer with your content.

Solutions for Short Attention Spans

Today’s readers have short attention spans. That’s exponentially true for your online visitors. You have seconds to grab them before they move on.  You need to show why they should care enough to continue reading. Otherwise, your content marketing efforts will fall short.

Easier said than done, you might think. Fortunately, a quick scan of this morning’s online edition of the New York Post illustrates the 3 shocking secrets that you can apply to your online headlines.

Here’s a Random Headline Selection from the December 29 Issue of the New York Post Online

  • Gal Cuffed for Gun Possession at 9/11 Memorial
  • NY Times Caught in Lie Over ‘Spam’ E-Mails
  • Zoe’s Clothes Lost in Transit
  • Jobless Claims Rise 15K to 381K, missing expectations
  • Verizon Gamed Cell Phones, Suit Says
  • Knicks Lose to Warriors; ‘It was awful’
  • Chavez Blames Cancer on US

Here are 3 Shockingly Successful Headline Secrets We Can Learn from Them:

  1. Be brief. No headline is longer than 8 words and 53 characters. That’s less than half a Tweet.
  2. Be complete. Each headline tells a short, but full story. You know exactly what’ll you get if you read the entire article. No guessing required.
  3. Be enticing. Each headline makes us want to read more. If the subject is important to us, we feel compelled to continue. Even when it’s not a hot topic for us, the best headlines often intrigue us enough to keep going.

My own headlines don’t always pass the New York Post brief, complete, and enticing benchmark. But, I think I nailed it today in 7 words and 42 characters with exactly the right amount of compelling content to entice you all the way to this sentence.

How’d I do?

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