Despite being at the top of every story, why is the headline so often the last piece of copy on a writer’s mind?
As a regular editor of internal communications (IC), I despair at seeing ‘Headline to come’ at the top of writers’ copy. It’s as if they’ve built a house of cards and are afraid the last ace will bring it all crashing down – so they simply avoid putting the roof on.
Sometimes they lose heart because there isn’t enough to go on in the copy. Shaky foundations result in shakier headlines. A persuasive story that draws the reader in will make it easier to top your story with an attention-grabbing head.
Repetitive fare makes this a challenge for anyone writing in internal comms. Old faithfuls like award ceremonies, the Three Peaks Challenge and other fundraising stories make it hard to stay fresh. But failure to find new angles stifles headline creativity and ends with writers resorting to headline clichés such as Wheely good and Smiles better that are sure to put readers off instead of arousing their curiosity like a good head should.
So when you’re writing the umpteenth awards story for your publication, spare a thought for the sub or the designer who writes your headlines – try to give it a different twist. You’ll be surprised by the creativity heaped on your head!