Millions of us do it, but most of us won’t admit it. It can cause embarrassment and nervousness on one hand, excitement and elation on the other.
What is “it”?
Reading the Hollywood tabloids – People, Us, Entertainment Weekly, and whatever other ones there are (as if I didn’t know.)
I sneak in a peek at my health club in between sets, hoping that no one sees me. Apparently millions of us do, because their readership is off the charts these days.
Why do we read tabloids? In large part, because they have great headlines that suck us in, right?
Online headline tips from the tabloids
Granted, even without good headlines, a lot of us would read about our favorite Hollywood stars because, well, they’re Hollywood stars and we seem to be fascinated with their lives.
Even so, here are three quick headline lessons from Hollywood tabloids that you can apply to your online headlines.
- Keep it short. In the book The 100 Greatest Advertisements by Julian Lewis Watkins, 95% of the headlines had fewer than 8 words. My favorite? “Blow Some My Way” (for Chesterfield Cigarettes). My favorite recent short tabloid headline? “Crisis!”
- Be specific. Don’t be vague (“The best for the least!” or “Exercise Tips”). Much better, and one of my all-time favorites: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, the classic headline and book title from Dale Carnegie. A specific Hollywood headline: “Angelina Spying on Brad!”
- Suck them in and grab their attention. We all know the big headline requirement of grabbing the reader’s attention. This is more important than ever on the internet. You might have to spend some time to get good at this. Some copywriters spend half their project time just on the headline. My favorite attention-grabbing headline, from Bottom Line Personal: “What never – ever – to eat on an airplane!” Favorite recent Hollywood headline: “The Truth About Their Baby!” (it sucked me in and I read the whole article.)
Remember “the 3 S’s”, and you won’t go wrong:
- Suck them in
There’s more to writing good online headlines, of course, but that’s a good start.
Here’s to better online marketing and writing and bigger results!
P.S. Did you hear that Katie is moving out on Tom?