Get to Gripping Headlines via Vincent Musetto

Effective HeadlinesThe first line your reader sees means the difference between success and failure. Most leads are clever headlines that play on words. Many are cute, but most aren’t effective.

We can learn to do better from recently-deceased report  Vincent Musetto, who wrote this “most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism. [see photo]

“What endured in public memory far longer than the crime was the headline, with its verbless audacity, arresting parallel adjectives and forceful trochaic slams. The corresponding headline in The New York Times that day proclaimed, genteelly, “Owner of a Bar Shot to Death; Suspect Is Held.” Headlessness was not mentioned until the third paragraph; toplessness not at all,” reports The New York Times.

You can do the same, even with far less sensationalism!

There are many ways to get attention with a headline, but the single most effective recommendation is to relate your headline to your reader’s interests and concerns.

  • Blah:  “Family Services Nonprofit Launches New Website.”
  • Better: “Wayne Families Can Now Find the Services they Need, Quickly and Easily.”

HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR

You can get to gripping headlines, too. More guidance here:
6 Tips for Writing Nonprofit Marketing Copy That Works
Piggyback Your Content On Headlines and Notable Days
Do Your Headlines Deliver? Nonprofit Wordsmithing Makes a Difference

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P.P.S. Many thanks to Musetto, who passed away recently. “However lauded [Headless] became, it was not Mr. Musetto’s favorite among the many headlines he wrote for the paper.

“That honor, he often said, went to ‘GRANNY EXECUTED IN HER PINK PAJAMAS.’,” according to The Times

Nancy Schwartz on June 10, 2015 in Messaging | 0 comments
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