Headlines, leads and quotes: Practicing the art of Refrigerator Journalism in a frantic world

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What You’ll Learn:: 

When you write headlines and cover lines for your website or magazine, do you keep the examples of Cosmopolitan (or Newsweek) uppermost in your mind?

Do you try to grab today’s distracted readers with irresistible headlines? If not, you’re at risk of losing your audience.

Mark explains how the techniques of journalists can make your communications the kind of feature or story readers clip.

Distractions bombard your employees. Employees live in two different worlds: Eat your peas (corporate comms) and publications that excite (Cosmo). Yet communicators serve them headlines like this real example: “RM Brewer giving 100 percent.”

“Why should I put Cosmo down, why should I put Men’s Fitness down, why should I put Vanity Fair down to read this story about RM Brewer?” Ragan says.

Mark knows the fundamentals of good headlines, leads, and quotes. And he lets you know what all good writers can learn from Twitter.

“In the age of Twitter, the fundamental rules of great writing haven’t changed,” Mark says. “They’re just no longer optional.”

Mark explains the five principles of connecting to today’s ADD-afflicted reader, and suggests the best writing test of all: Wait a few days, then re-read your prose and see if you actually like it.

Finally, and most important, Mark tells you how to stop boring people.

Mark reveals headline writing tips that can make employees read your emails, and leads that pull readers in and make them want more. He tells how to get quotes that connect us with real voices—rather than the fake, inhuman tone of most corporate executive quotes.

He explains how to think like the editor of a popular newsstand magazine, and how to answer these questions:

  • How do I get your attention?
  • How do I stand out from the crowd?
  • How do I get you to stop and look?

He takes apart leads, and shows how you can use them to get readers burrowing deep into your content.

He will leave you with an understanding of how to write coporate news, interviews, features, regular columns and even routine notices and bulletins so well, “people would be compelled to clip it out and put it on their refrigerator.”

August 2011

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Presenter bio: 

Mark Ragan is publisher of PR Daily, Ragan.com, Health Care Communication.com and HR Communicator.com. He is a former reporter at Copley Newspapers and The San Diego Union-Tribune, with extensive experience covering national and regional politics.