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The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

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.


Lisa said...

These are great suggestions and I need to think about more of these when titling blog posts. Thank you for sharing them.

Charles Gramlich said...

Good advice. I need to keep this kind of thing in mind for titling my writing articles. I try some of these things already but I need to look at all of them and be more consistent.

Sphinx Ink said...

Wonderful advice. I'm printing it out and bringing it with me to the next meeting of my writers' group.

Shauna Roberts said...

LISA, CHARLES, and SPHINX INK, thanks for stopping by. It's amazing that after many years of having this by my computer, I still refer to it and find it helpful. I hope it is as useful for you.

Unknown said...

Fabulous tips, Chauna! Thank you for posting them. I am printing this out and posting it as motivation when I am writing articles and marketing pieces.

Shauna Roberts said...

SAMARA, I'm glad these tips were useful for you. Thanks for stopping by!

cs harris said...

I love it!