CMS Tip: News Headlines Tell the Story

Posted on 8/29/2016 1:05:08 PM

This is part of a series of tips for web maintainers. The Web Team posts hints and tips about the CMS, MyIUP, IUP Mobile, and the interactive map each week.

Write headlines for your news posts that quickly tell the story while compelling readers to find out more. An effective headline will increase the chance of people clicking through to read the whole news post.

Including keywords in a headline will also result in better results for people searching for those words.

Motivate the Reader

Look at the title and ask yourself, “Would this make me want to read on?” A good headline should motivate the reader to read the rest of the story.

Your headline is critical to grab that reader. Put the most important words in your headline up front. Be focused. Be literal. Pique their curiosity. The headline should be compelling and detailed, while using as few words as possible.

Use the Keywords

Get keywords into the title—it’s the best place for them. Keywords can make it easier for the headline to be found by search engines, helping to draw traffic to your website.

The key points in the article can help you craft the headline. Read the whole news post, and pay attention to the first paragraph. The main details of the story should be in the first few sentences, so look for your key terms there.

Tell the Story

Summaries are also an effective place for keywords. But summaries may not always be visible to the reader. A subscriber to your news feed may only receive a list of linked headlines. As they scan the list, your audience makes split-second judgments about what to read and what to skim over or ignore. Don't make them say, “Huh?”

Poor Headlines:

  • Student Presents Research
  • Jones Publishes Article

Better Headlines:

  • Chemistry Student Presents Crystallography Research
  • Jones Publishes Solution to Global Warming

Your news article may be the best thing you ever wrote. But without a good, clear headline, it might as well have not been written.

Bruce Dries