June 26, 2017

Stories fill social media platforms in a continuous stream, so drawing readers to your work gets more difficult every day. Cutting through the social noise starts with sharper headlines that resonate with audiences. Here are eight tips for stronger headlines on social media.

  • Explain the news: People want to stay informed and learn information they can use.
  • Pick strong verbs: Headlines need action, so choose vivid verbs.
  • Add a number: Readers know what to expect from the story (and they like numbers).
  • Ask a question: Questions spur curiosity and engagement. But avoid obvious questions that seem like click-bait.
  • Pull the best quote: Quotes offer a nugget of information from the story–and make for clicky posts and tweets.
  • Make things recognizable: Readers won’t engage if they don’t know the names, places or organizations.
  • Give some urgency: Convey immediacy when news breaks. Add “breaking,” “just in,” “update” and so on.
  • Consider emotional reactions: People react emotionally, sometimes viscerally, to content on social media.

Taken from How to Write Sharper Social Headlines, an on-demand webinar replay with Politico’s Trevor Eischen at Poynter NewsU.

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Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current…
Vicki Krueger

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