Wither headline writer after Twitter?
Has Twitter killed the great headline writer or has it made everyone believe that great headlines come in 140 characters? Or do both exist, except that tweets make more noise than charming, memorable headlines?
Or frankly, does every word (character) have its place and time?
Copywriters I believe have a real task on hand. Listing a few — to create interest, establish a need. Push the reader to an action. And more.
Their life and craft however depends on their ability to write intrusive headlines. Those, which make readers sit-up, take notice and do something about it.
Here are some examples of intrusive headlines (in print) and unforgettable, heavily retweeted tweets… which bring the Headline writers vs Tweeples contest into focus.
The Economist Ad counting all the characters inclusive of spaces is 58 characters long. This headline is penned by the inimitable David Abbott in 1984.
His colleague Alfredo Marcantonio had this to say of him,
“His school of fine persuasive writing is as convincing on a tablet as it was in the tabloids.” ( Source : http://copywritinginaction.com.au)
The Apple headline and the subhead together is 69 characters long. Published in 1998.
The Volkswagen headline by the legendary Bill Bernbach a mere 6 characters long. Published in 1949.
So there you have some of the iconic ones before the Twitter era and well within the 140 character range?!
Headline writers rejoice. Your tribe is still around!
Now coming to my chosen ones on Twitter -(Source http://mashable.com/2016/03/21/best-tweets-of-all-time/#6WyPq_Q7Fkqp)
Sohaib Athar — the first man to tweet about the Osama Bin Laden raid. At a little after Zero Dark Thirty. Topical, alerting the world. Even a bit curious was the tweet.
Barack Obama — No words to describe this thought and emotion.
And the last one that superb timing only a Twitter and that Oreo creative team could bring to the brand in the blackout night of Super Bowl, 2013.
Tweets that were topical, newsy, sought an action, evoked an emotion or just plain kept us informed.
So there I go with writers from across the spectrum of copywriters and tweeples. Both the headline and tweeting kinds, some thoughts:
- Have a purpose
- Be single-minded
- Possess a charm and style
- Know the medium
Then, the number of characters and headline length becomes a mere discussion point?
My verdict:How to write and write well is the key. In print or Twitter.