The most effective headline is said to be able to catch the attention of the reader and tell the gist of the story in one single line. Newspaper editors slave over this part of their job on a daily basis because it can make or break newspaper sales for the day. An engaging headline encourages readers to want to learn more while a boring one should make them want to head for another newspaper.
Newspapers are in a competitive business. The competition not only consists of other broadsheet counterparts but also online news and social media platforms. There is more reason to come up with just the exact words that will work because the attention of the public can be stolen by a single to-the-point headline.
Many writers are tempted to allow their witty side to come out in their headlines. It would be alright if such witty words can perform its intended task of catching attention. Otherwise, it would be wise to reserve the wittiness for the content.
In a way, the headline and its accompanying story carries the brunt of the responsibility of making sure that a newspaper establishes instant reader appeal. It has the job of getting readers’ attention who haven’t had the opportunity to determine the relevance of the offered content. There are many cases that a headline effectively gets the public attention without any substantial information related to the title. This should be avoided at all cost since a newspaper can easily get the reputation of baiting readers without having anything to offer.
The headline and its story should work together in consonance. Of course, many so-called newspapers have cemented their popularity through sensational headlines but in the end, it would be the story that would matter. The most in demand newspapers get reader’s attention and sustain it.