January 28th, 2011
If you get stuck when you’re writing a headline or a sentence, try rearranging the words. Here’s an example of an awkward two-part headline:
“Fertile” is kind of goofy, “vegetarian-fed” is kind of weird, but “cage-free” is serious (and big) business
– Francis Lam, Salon.com
Good writing usually feels effortless to read. The article’s subtitle is long, but it’s easy to understand because its structure is parallel.
The main title is a little difficult to take in. The reader has to wait to see the crucial verb – “What this, that, and other labels mean.” That’s a long time to wait for meaning.
Juggling the words around improves the headline’s readability: “‘Cage-free’ and ‘fertile’: What egg labels mean.”
Click here for Write It Well’s list of nine quick ways to make your headlines stronger.
Our book Professional Writing Skills shows you how to maintain parallel style, use verbs skillfully, and write concisely. All these skills are necessary to craft effective headlines.
Too busy to make sure your writing is engaging and easy to follow? Hire Write It Well to copyedit your documents. We’ll make sure your writing is clear and concise so that it makes the best possible impression of your organization.