The Daily Mail Headline Writing Formula

Are you lazy? I am.

Instead of wracking my brains trying to come up with clever headlines, I look at what others have written, and see if I can go one better.

It’s a private little game I play with myself. I suspect a lot of other writers do the same thing.

You see a really clever headlines, or maybe an interesting phrase, and think, ‘Oh, how could I use that?’

daily-mail-headline-writing

Let’s go back to headlines.

I used to print out Brian Clark’s articles on Copyblogger many, many years ago. One thing he emphasized was the importance of great headlines. Not ‘clever clever’ puns, but headlines that worked.

When does a headline work?

When the reader stops,

thinks about it,

starts to feels a little curious…

and clicks through.

The headline is the salesman for your blog post.

Without it, no one visits.

Just the sound of crickets.

Ok, so back to lazy Ivan.

I go to the Daily Mail. Cosmo works as well. Click on the Womens or Showbiz section.

Look at posts with lots of comments.

Now look at the headline.

Ask yourself:

What emotion does the headline trigger?

Outrage?

Injustice?

Anger?

The Daily Mail excels at goading its readers. Of course, the readers know this (I suspect) but keeps coming back for more anyway.

They enjoy feeling outraged, blowing off steam, looking down on others, and feeling superior. They’re also a bit frightened. But that’s another post.

If you spend some time on this site, or other sites that get a lot of traffic, you’ll get a feel for the headlines that work.

A kind of writer’s sixth sense.

Once you get a feel for the formula that the writers use, see if you can apply it to your headline writing. Not all the time but now and then.

Think of it as an experiment.

See what works. Ignore the rest.

Thousands of templates to jump start your project

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan