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Probably the best advice in the world...

by: Romany Howes (19 September 2008)

A headline gets attention and makes the reader want to find out more. A lot of thought should go into the headline because it is effectively the precursor to the whole point of the piece of writing. Word play, alliteration and clever twisting of familiar phrases or cliches are popular with the tabloid press: who can forget Richard Branson's ill-fated balloon trip when the papers had a field day with "Branson's Pickle"? And this superb example when Caledonion Thistle spanked Celtic in a football match: "Super Calli Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious".

If you are writing a more serious tome, then try and make it less sensationalist and more tuned to the reader. But avoid deceptive headlines - the reader will be cheated if the headline, however brilliant, does not reflect what is in the writing that follows! And remember that even the most creative headline in the world won't make a bad story good. Use superlatives wherever you can without infringing upon trade descriptions: The Best Way to Get Ahead in Business beats A Good Way to Get Ahead in Business. but beware: Our Woo Beats Nintendo Wii...

Remember to use a headline to captivate the reader's attention with enough information to make your reader want to read on.

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