Two pens writing great headlines for your blog

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Two Pens presented a short webinar on Writing Great Blog Headlines as an online class for the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. Course covers many examples of interesting headlines and analyzes why they work.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUK12nCgrWs
  • Headlines are often all that people read to decide to stay… To grab people ’s attention they need to set tone, identify audience, tell people what they’re going, a promise the content has to keep
  • Headlines are often all that people read to decide to stay… To grab people ’s attention they need to set tone, identify audience, tell people what they’re going, a promise the content has to keep
  • 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • Headlines are often all that people read to decide to stay… To grab people ’s attention they need to set tone, identify audience, tell people what they’re going, a promise the content has to keep
  • Headlines are often all that people read to decide to stay… To grab people ’s attention they need to set tone, identify audience, tell people what they’re going, a promise the content has to keep
  • Headlines are often all that people read to decide to stay… To grab people ’s attention they need to set tone, identify audience, tell people what they’re going, a promise the content has to keep
  • Headlines are often all that people read to decide to stay… To grab people ’s attention they need to set tone, identify audience, tell people what they’re going, a promise the content has to keep
  • Pokes fun at oneself while promising to deliver useful information to users at specific levels of expertise. Tone: Empathetic + humorous + humble Audience: Beginning & intermediate Excel users Learn: What a circular reference is Promise: Demystify a confusing error message 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • Pokes fun at oneself while promising to deliver useful information to users at specific levels of expertise. Tone: Empathetic + humorous + humble Audience: Beginning & intermediate Excel users Learn: What a circular reference is Promise: Demystify a confusing error message 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • Surprise subject (overtime the audience never knows what to expect from you, so checks back often) that identifies audience yet funny enough to reach beyond it. Uses word play Tone: Funny, smart, hip Audience: Grammarians, writers, and rap lovers Learn: A grammar tip from a rapper
  • Surprise subject (overtime the audience never knows what to expect from you, so checks back often) that identifies audience yet funny enough to reach beyond it. Uses word play Tone: Funny, smart, hip Audience: Grammarians, writers, and rap lovers Learn: A grammar tip from a rapper
  • Pokes fun at oneself while promising to deliver useful information to users at specific levels of expertise. Tone: Empathetic + humorous + humble Audience: Beginning & intermediate Excel users Learn: What a circular reference is Promise: Demystify a confusing error message 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • This marijuana headline works by reversal. It upends your expectation that the bill should pass because every body wants it, not The opposite.
  • Pokes fun at oneself while promising to deliver useful information to users at specific levels of expertise. Tone: Empathetic + humorous + humble Audience: Beginning & intermediate Excel users Learn: What a circular reference is Promise: Demystify a confusing error message 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • These help MS participate in the conversation continually happening in the blogosphere Makes fun of ourselves—let ’s people know we know what people think of us, but we beg to differ Or the MVPs beg to differ Shout out to them helps build their reputation Increases loyalty
  • Pokes fun at oneself while promising to deliver useful information to users at specific levels of expertise. Tone: Empathetic + humorous + humble Audience: Beginning & intermediate Excel users Learn: how fun the geeks are Promise: IT guys are human and here’s what they do to entertain themselves 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • Demonstrate in the headline the way to make yourself look foolish by using big words when A simple small one—stupid– works quicker and better. 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • A headline rarely stands alone. It needs visual to augment meaning and help the reader decide if they want to know more. Bland text (unless it’s a typographic treatment) is less appealing in our visually focused world. IMAGES MAKES HEADLINES STAND UP AND DO THEIR JOB. 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • You, the reader are asked to solve the puzzle piece.
  • See and say headline – OK headline repeat headlines visual shows a watermark Have a donkey for sale, and show the donkey Forgettable headline
  • See and say headline – OK headline repeat headlines visual shows a watermark Have a donkey for sale, and show the donkey Forgettable headline
  • Remember, the best visuals supply a missing piece of information when combined with the words. When the reader can barely see the mom and child photo because the desk top is so busy, they “get” instinctively that it’s time for a vacation. And the lazy copywriter doesn’t even have to say the word.
  • What ’s the role of this headline? . In this ad for Harley Davidson created by Momapropaganda, you the reader have to “get” that the six year old we’re looking at is a tattooed and bitchin’ Harley rider in the making
  • What other image could convey what ’s missing? Breakfast plate with bacon & toast but no egg
  • 09/18/13 Microsoft Office
  • Word play and visual is required to make the joke.
  • Talk about the visual: it requires that you imagine a cat, thus engaging you. This example shows the power of engaging the viewer and asking them to figure out what would this person’s pet look like.
  • Talk about the visual: it requires that you imagine a cat, thus engaging you. Tbhis is the power of not having a visual and making the Viewer figure out what would this person’s pet look like.
  • Talk about the visual: it requires that you imagine the dog and what its owner should look like. The images are so right on, you can’t help but Look.
  • Word play and visual is required to make the joke.
  • A surprising reversal on the use of a quote from Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin: this headline from BoingBoing relies on the surprise of having Brin talk about emasculation and because we respect him, we want to know why.
  • Promise with a listing of choices of what you could do in the next 2 weeks.
  • From the Two Pens blog at http://www.twopens.com A contrarian’s “how to” headline.
  • PLS FOLLOW US ON OUR SITE AND COME BACK TO SVC SEATTLE FOR MORE ONLINE CLASSES.
  • Two pens writing great headlines for your blog

    1. 1. Writing Great Blog Headlines Emily Warn & Cynthia Hartwig February 28, 2013
    2. 2. Emily Warn
    3. 3. Before we start… Two Pens likes to teach interactively. That means we talk and you respond. We throw out headline prompts. You try them out. Are you game?
    4. 4. RESPOND IN CHAT WITH IDEAS FOR HEADLINES AND VISUALS. WE’LL RESPOND.
    5. 5. Headline writing is not divine inspiration. It is creativity in service to the CUSTOMER.
    6. 6. The job of a headline is to attract attention.
    7. 7. THE THREE SECOND RULE: YOU HAVE MORE TIME TO PICK UP A PIECE OF TOAST FROM THE FLOOR THAN YOU DO TO GET A HEADLINE ACROSS.
    8. 8. OUR CRITERIA FOR WHETHER A HEADLINE IS WORKING 1. DOES IT GET YOUR ATTENTION?
    9. 9. OUR CRITERIA FOR WHETHER A HEADLINE IS WORKING 1. DOES IT GET YOUR ATTENTION? 2. IS IT ENGAGING?
    10. 10. OUR CRITERIA FOR WHETHER A HEADLINE IS WORKING 1. DOES IT GET YOUR ATTENTION? 2. IS IT ENGAGING? 3. IS THERE A PROMISE?
    11. 11. OUR CRITERIA FOR WHETHER A HEADLINE IS WORKING 1. DOES IT GET YOUR ATTENTION? 2. IS IT ENGAGING? 3. IS THERE A PROMISE? 4. IS IT ON STRATEGY?
    12. 12. ALL HEADLINES MUST SAY ONE (!!!) ONE THING. NET TAKEAWAY/CREATIVE STRATEGY STATEMENT = SINGLE COMPELLING PROMISE
    13. 13. IN ENGLISH:
    14. 14. THE THREE SECOND RULE WAYS TO
    15. 15. 1. Clarity usually trumps cleverness.
    16. 16. COMPARE & CONTRAST: OVERSTUFFED INDUSTRY JARGON VERSUS...
    17. 17. . …SIMPLE AND PLAIN ENGLISH.
    18. 18. HANDS ON EXERCISE 1.Think about an upcoming blog post. 2.Write a straight forward, clear headline that’s easy to get. POST IN CHAT.
    19. 19. 2. EMPATHIZE WITH CUSTOMERS’ PROBLEM
    20. 20. HANDS-ON EXERCISE: 1. Think of a problem your customers face. 2. Write a headline that empathizes with this problem.
    21. 21. 3. Entertain by being unexpected Cynthia Hartwig, Co-Founder
    22. 22. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32p8d6OudgU Entertain by being unexpected
    23. 23. HANDS-ON EXERCISE: 1. Think of something that’s unusual or unique about your company or industry. 2. Write a headline that reveals this surprising fact.
    24. 24. 4. Pose a challenge by asking & answering a question.
    25. 25. HANDS-ON EXERCISE: 1. Think of a question you could pose. 2. Write a headline that the reader has to answer.
    26. 26. 5. IMHO: Weigh in or Report on Debate Challenges by asking & answering a question Short post. Promotes enthusiasts & MVPs
    27. 27. 6. IDENTIFY WITH AUDIENCE BY MAKING THEM LAUGH
    28. 28. 7. STATE THE PROBLEM
    29. 29. 8. USEVISUALSTO MAKE HEADLINES WORK BETTER. Headlines need visuals because they are LAZY.
    30. 30. The best headlines and visuals require reader involvement.
    31. 31. This is called a “See-and-Say Headline.
    32. 32. This communication requires involvement.
    33. 33. HANDS-ON EXERCISE: Help the Headline Tell A Story with an image. Brainstorm 3-4 images that work with the “Something Missing” Microsoft post. POSTYOURVISUAL IDEA IN CHAT.
    34. 34. Why do these headlines work? POST YOUR IDEAS IN CHAT.
    35. 35. WHAT MAKES A GREAT HEADLINE? ASK THESE QUESTIONS. 1. Did it make you stop in your tracks? 2. Did it tell you something you didn’t know? 3. Did it promise something you want?
    36. 36. THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING US. HTTP:WWW.TWOPENS.COM HTTP://WWW.SVCSEATTLE.COM @twopens2 (Cynthia Hartwig) @emilywarn (Emily Warn

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