Man smiling while reading smart phone

In just a few seconds, employees decide whether to read your message, especially when they’re accessing email, newsletters and an intranet page on a mobile device. That’s why your headline is, by far, the most important part of any content you write.

The great thing is, headlines aren’t that hard, once you know the recipe. Here’s how to capture your audience’s attention:

Focus on one message
Before you start to shape your communication, answer this question, “What one thing do you want readers to take away?” This will help you capture exactly what your communication is about.</p>

Consider your audience
Remember that you’re writing for employees. Put yourself in their shoes and think about: What are they interested in? What do they need to know? How can you help them solve a problem?

Make it concise
Be simple, short and straightforward. A headline should explain what the article is about in 55 characters or less. Clean up headlines by removing nonessential words and jargon.</p>

Be compelling
Employees don’t want cute and clever, they want quick and helpful. They are more likely to click on a headline that will help them solve a problem, so try offering a benefit or posing a question.

Capture the essence of your story
Since your headline may be all that employees read, it needs to be able to stand alone. Use strong verbs and key words to provide as much context as you can.</p>


Quiz: Who wrote it best?

1. The infamous “Affluenza” teen made headlines in December 2015. Which news outlet wrote the best headline?
A. Photo Shows 'Affluenza' Teen Being Detained in Mexico, Officials Say He Had Farewell Bash
B. 'Affluenza' teen granted temporary stay against deportation
C. Wealthy Texas teen who used affluenza defense in court apprehended in Mexico for probation violation

Answer: B.
Fox News—This headline gets to the point quickly and captures the essence of the story

2. Winter Storm Jonas hit us hard in January 2016. Which news outlet wrote the best headline? 
A. Storm Jonas: New York imposes travel ban amid one of the worst blizzards in its history.
B. Blizzard buries eastern US as New York bans travel—as it happened
C. New York City Travel Ban Does Not Include Bicycles

Answer: C.
New York Times—This headline is simple, to the point and helpful to New Yorker’s during the storm

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