The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia
28 August 2007
Ten simple steps to catchy coverlines now!
I promised in my tribute to Peter Banks to post the list of tips he sent me for writing better magazine article titles. (The list is actually for coverlines—those phrases on the front of a magazine that get you to buy it—but work just as well for articles. Or, for that matter, blog entry titles.) Here they are:
Use exciting verbs. Polish, perfect, or pump up, don’t improve. Banish, don’t reduce.
Make it immediate. Promise change now, fast, in 30 days, in ten minutes.
Promise lasting change. The only diet you’ll ever need. Stay healthy forever.
Create mystery and intrigue. Man’s weirdest disease. 10 symptoms you dare not ignore. Secrets of top chefs.
Get personal. Pump up your image. Custom workouts for your 20s, 30s, 40s...and beyond.
Make change manageable. 23 secrets of peak nutrition. Ten steps to success.
Use words that have emotional resonance for the reader. For a health magazine, these might include active, youthful, vigor, health, power, energy.
Don’t be afraid to play on people’s fears and inadequacies. Lower your cholesterol the new and smarter way.
Use short, simple words. More energy now!
Solve problems. Men’s symptoms...what they mean, what to do.