18 Insanely Clever Tips For Writing Headlines That'll Make People Feel Things

    Headlines to flex: I Asked XX BuzzFeed Geniuses How To Write Perfectly Crafted Headlines And Here's What Happened // XX BuzzFeed Geniuses Share Their All-Time Best Headline Writing Tips // 18 Ridiculously Useful Headline Writing Tips That Will Make Your Stories Go Crazy Viral // 18 Painfully Brilliant Headline Tips From BuzzFeed Writers // How To Give Good Headline (Graphic, NSFW)

    This post was created by Carolyn Kylstra, BuzzFeed Life's first Health Editor. She's now the executive editor for digital at Self.

    1. Say your headline out loud. To yourself, to a friend, to your dog, to anyone who will or will not listen!

    2. Or if you don't feel like talking out loud to yourself, write your headline the way you'd talk about the story IRL out loud in normal human person speak.

    3. OR write it the way you'd maybe Tweet about it.

    4. Or write it the way some random non-journalist would write about it on Facebook.

    5. Make sure that whatever your headline says, it's logical and normal and obvious in a memorable way.

    The big theme here, FYI, is to just make sure you sound like a human person and not a media spam-bot headline generator. The awesome thing about that is you already have exactly what it takes, because you ARE a human person.

    6. Is your dek sassy as hell? Maybe some part of it (or all of it) should be in the hed instead.

    7. Kill your darlings. Kill them all! Optimizer should help you with this.

    8. When using Optimizer, max out your options.

    9. Think about the identity of the person reading and loving this post, and write your headline targeting that person.

    10. Tell the reader EXACTLY what's in it for them.

    11. Be really fucking specific about what the story is about and why it's special and different. This is basically the opposite of clickbait.

    12. Put a number in it.

    13. Some words should just always be included in your headlines if they're important to the story.

    14. But some words aren't quite as impactful and maybe you should think about avoiding them.

    15. Add an adverb. Add another!

    16. Throw an "Actually" in there.

    17. All hacks are tips. Not all tips are hacks.

    18. And come up with some good headlines BEFORE you even start writing the story.

    Wonderful! Now go forth and headline.