On writing headlines and subject lines
February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
By Callum Smith: https://sites.google.com/site/callumsmithwebsitecopywriting/
Headlines on RSS aggregators and email in-boxes are difficult to scan because their subjects — usually company or product names — don’t stand out; too often, all headlines’ words begin with Capitals.
To clearly distinguish headlines’ subjects, to understand from a glance the gist of a headline, a clear distinction between the subject (company/product name) and the rest of the headline must be made. Here’s some basics on how (digital) headlines should appear:
- First word of headline is capitalized
- Only names and abbreviations are capitalized
- English grammar rules of capitalization apply
The subject is terribly important and must stand out in order to be immediately understood when scanned.
First 2 headlines from my Google Reader aggregator (above) should appear as follows:
- Interview with Qwest security expert Bob Schroeder – Bob Schroeder…
- Can online sharing stats predict the Oscars? – When it comes to …
This should make your e-mail and news-reader headlines more attractive because they will be faster and easier for the eye to process, as well as being different from the rest.
Computer-screen language has been evolving since the first programmers communicated amongst each other via computer-mediated communication, using IM lingo abbreviations, emoticons, etc…, and digital headlines today are no exception.