Search Results for: headlines

News headlines that make news in themselves…

There’s something about the large letters used in newspaper headlines that can make their writers blind to what they actually say. Here are some examples of headlines where someone, somewhere, should have read them again before hitting “publish..”

Something went wrong in jet crash, expert says

Miners refuse to work after death

Juvenile court to try shooting defendant

War dims hope for peace

If strike isn’t settled quickly, it may last a while

Cold wave linked to temperatures

Enfield couple slain; police suspect homicide

Red tape holds up new bridges

New study of obesity looks for larger test group

Kids make nutritious snacks

Hospitals are sued by seven foot doctors


Many thanks to my good friend Angelika Davey for bringing these to my attention…

Now, let’s get you  making the headlines:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in Englishget it published

Images borrowed with thanks from itTHING

Headlines, titles and brands: who do you need to grab – humans or search engines?

It has always been important to choose a title or headline that will grab attention, but now with an increasing focus on the online world it’s no longer a case of grabbing people’s attention. You’ve got to grab the search engines by the throat too, and they’re very different animals.

Recently I was reading a very interesting blog post by my good friend and internet marketing expert Nikki Pilkington, who suggested a very competent solution for headlines and titles all within the online environment:

“In order to appear in (decent) results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc, you need to think about what people are searching for. And write your blog title accordingly.

“Oh but that means a really dull and obviously written title for search engines, and my blog is more creative than that”, said another client last week. And I see her point – you don’t spend ages crafting a fantastic headline only to have to stuff it full of keywords so that it appeals to a search engine.

And that’s where an SEO plugin comes in handy. Most SEO plugins for WordPress (we use All in One SEO) allow you to craft TWO titles for your blog posts. One of those titles will appear as the headline of the blog, so you can be as witty and clever as you like without worrying about those pesky search engines. The OTHER title is one that appears at the top of the browser, and the one that Google will take into account when deciding where to put you in the results.”

But what happens when you need to create a cohesive marketing message across online and offline media?

That’s where the conflict really begins to dig in. Why? Because as soon as your marketing or other communications strategy drops off the online radar, it’s out there in the old-fashioned and distinctly less friendly print media.  No more boring search engine spiders that take you literally at your word; now you have to grab intelligent, choosy human beings by the throat.

The clever-clever ad campaigns of the pre-internet era were very good at grabbing human throats, but the spiders crawl straight on past pretty much everything that isn’t a keyword.

Is this why current print and broadcast advertising (and their online siblings) have become more down-to-earth?

In recent years consumers have started thumbing their noses at the ridiculously unbelievable advertising and brand claims of the past few decades. Ever since the it “does exactly what it says on the tin” advertising campaign for Ronseal started back in 1994, many other advertisers have taken the hint and toned down their output. Is this a happy coincidence?

Or is it related to the whole no-more-bullshit ethos that the internet has generated and now, perhaps, is ironically being reinforced by the dour, unimaginative search engine spiders?

Whatever the answer, I would put money on it having been a stonking headache even for some of the major brands to rationalize their cross-media campaigns for the spiders, and I bet many an angry fist of an old-fashioned advertising creative has been shaken at Google.

Overall, I feel the influence of the internet and search engines is a good thing for all types of advertising because it has forced it all to become more honest, while still being catchy and creative.

What do you think?

Brush up your writing for headlines and much more:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

Why writing capital Letters for the Wrong words makes them (and you) look Stupid

Are you one of the increasing number of people who think that all you need to make a word more important is to give it a capital letter?


Very nice – but don’t overuse!

As my business partner (an ex-Oxford University publisher/editor/author) would say, “why capitalise your status as a Bricklayer? Does that really make it seem more important than bricklayer?”

Capital letters: after apostrophes, the most commonly abused characters in writing

[Read more…]

How to write for millennials

For the second time in a week, please welcome back the intrepid Jackson Rawlings. Last time he told us, er, older types in no uncertain terms how not to write for millennial audiences, and this week shares some further thoughts on we can do it right – if we want to be on the same wavelength. Pin back your ears (or eyes, anyway…) Sz x

Article on writing for millennialsI often get asked about the how to approach writing for millennials. Most likely because: a) I’m a writer and b) I’m a millennial. Makes sense, huh?

People ask me “should I write short pieces? Should I use jokes and memes?”

First of all, no. Or at least, probably no.

The assumption is writing for millennials is an entirely different game to writing for other audiences.

[Read more…]

Writing style? What writing style?

“If any of you thinks you have your own writing style, you can leave the room now,” said the wonderful and inimitable Bill Galley, who was our senior tutor at the (then) Watford Art School Advertising Writing Course in southern England.

With his gruff voice, aggressive beard à la James Robertston Justice in the “Carry On” movies and an up-yer-nose attitude, Bill was a veteran of the 20th century Madison Avenue creative advertising era. Despite being a Brit his b*lls were more than big enough to make him heard above many of the famous types who populated the advertising industry at that time in the USA.

Writing style? What writing style?

Our beloved course tutor, Bill Galley, looked a little like James Robertson Justice from the old “Carry On” movies. His eyes weren’t quite so skewed, however…

In his latter years Bill freelanced back in London and paid the rent by teaching us little squirts how to write ads. After we graduated he became our mentor and go-to expert on anything from creative brainstorming to how to win an interview to how to cope with and mend broken hearts. We were distraught when he died; he had become like another grandfather to us all.

And we always remembered those words about not having your own writing style. [Read more…]

Does your writing get invaded by the CAPITALIZERS?

Updated February 27th, 2020.
Do You Capitalise Every Word In Your Titles And Headlines?
Or do you Capitalise Only the Nouns and big Words in Titles and Headlines?

Why capital letters should not be over used

Or do you, perhaps, capitalise Common Nouns as well as Proper Nouns?


It’s the invasion of the CAPITALIZERS!

[Read more…]