How to kill ‘killer’ headlines

I don’t know about you but I feel it’s time to bury ‘killer’ headlines.

Once upon a time… killer was fresh. It had an edge. Attitude.

But then it went mainstream. A bit like Talking Heads. Remember Psycho Killer? David wouldn’t write that now… or get away with it 🙂


Why Killer Headlines?

Is there any good reason to use killer in headlines?

I don’t think so unless you can put some spin on it. For example, in the title of this post.

Killer isn’t bad per se.

It’s the fact that it’s been passed around so frequently that its impact has become diluted.

Remember ‘shock and awe’? They even made a game out of it but no-one uses it anymore. Its time has come and gone.

So, when is it time to stop using killer… or whatever action words you use to spice things up?

Let’s hit the pause button for a moment. The problem isn’t the word ‘killer’, is it?

One of the dilemmas for those who make a living with words is to keep in touch with the zeitgeist and… use words as effectively as possible.

You can do this by piggybacking on words that have a popular appeal and seem kind of hip.

Killer was a good example of this until…

Until it jumped on the bus and headed towards main street.

Because when a word begans to appear in advertising for white goods, baby products, or financial products, it’s time to delete it from your marketing vocabulary.

Maybe that’s a bit extreme. But that little voice in your head should be warning you that a cliche is about to enter your content…

Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think about killer headlines?