Top 10 Tips for Writing Headlines
A headline grabs the readers’ attention and pulls them into the coverage on the yearbook spread.
These guidelines will help in writing effective headline packages.
1. Read the copy; as you read, write out a list of key words and phrases.
2. Describe the action in your dominant photo. Does it match any of the words in your key word list?
3. Choose your favorite key words and phrases from your list.
4. From your favorites, write a first draft of your main headline. Use literary techniques you learned in English class — alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, pun and rhyme — whenever possible.
5. Reread your copy. What factual details from your copy will help you write your secondary headline?
6. Draft your secondary headline; write a sentence that identifies key information from the spread.
7. Pair your headline and secondary headline together. Do they work together? The headline and secondary headline should be similar in tone — both should be playful, serious or informative.
8. Edit both components. Eliminate unnecessary words or information. Make sure your verbs are strong and active. Write all headline packages in present tense.
9. Use the following tools to help with headline writing: dictionary, idiom dictionary, rhyming dictionary and thesaurus.
10. Do a final check of the headline package to be sure that it accurately identifies the context of the spread.
What is a yearbook? It is a memory book, a photo book, a reference book… It is all of these and much more.
While the language varies, it’s no surprise so many people in the yearbook world share common sentiments. There’s a nearly universal dread as deadlines somehow become more difficult at the end. Everyone is busy and tired — maybe overwhelmed.
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