Write to your headline

I always write my own headlines, sub-headings and byline, even though I know that ultimately, the editor for whom I am writing, has every right to change it, along with anything else I have written.

Fortunately, because I used to work with a bunch of great headline writers in my Tennis World days (plus I take serious note of tabloid newspaper headlines) I have mostly got away with them being retained by my editors over my career.

Some editors are precious about headlines, but most, I think, are quite pleased that their commissioned writer has taken the initiative and saved them the bother of inventing a headline from the copy they have yet to read!

The better the headline, the more likely the editor is to keep it. And you can have fun with them too. Make them attention grabbing and hard hitting. Think The Sun, if I may be so bold.

The important thing, though, is to write to your own headline, and sticking to it in your copy. Keeping your copy aligned to the headline – that same headline that first helped draw the attention of your reader to the article – is key to maintaining their interest to the end.

Headlines are powerful – use them wisely, and well.