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The first thing I learned in Journalism 101 is that the headline is the most important part of any story. Why? Because, like a great proverb, we only have a few words to get our message across. And if we fail, readers won't read our story....


In today's world, where many businesses live or die based upon their online presence (and this includes newspapers), we need to return to the basics of good headline writing, with a new twist --being aware of how search engines work. Using nouns and verbs that tell readers why they might be interested in what we have to say is still a rule to follow, but there is more to it in today's web world.
Last Friday, CNET News ran a story that those of us creating audience messages should read. Entitled Newspapers search for Web headline magic, the article focuses on newspaper headline writing but it applies to everyone who wants their articles, books, marketing and sales messages, web site content and blog posts read.
I urge you to read the article, but here are a few highlights:
1. Witty and provocative headlines are often useless and even counterproductive in getting the Web page ranked high in search engines.
2. Think about what the story is about and be as clear as possible.
3. Create a more literal Web headline.
4. Be more direct.
5. Make the headline stand out.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lewis Green, Founder and Managing Principal of L&G Business Solutions, LLC, (http://www.l-gsolutions.com) brings three decades of business management experience. L&G Business Solutions, LLC, represents his third company. Additionally, he held management positions with GTE Discovery Publications, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company.

In addition to his business experiences, Lewis is a published author and a former journalist, sports writer and travel writer. His feature articles have appeared in books, magazines and newspapers throughout North America. He has taught in public schools; lobbied for organizations both in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.; delivered workshops, seminars, and training programs; and made presentations to audiences in colleges, businesses and professional organizations. Lewis also has served as a book editor with a large publisher, the Executive Editor overseeing four magazines, and a newspaper department editor. Lewis served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, where he received the Air Force Commendation Medal.