The Mario Blog
Forget the one headline fits all theory!

We live in the world of the media quintet. That means that sometimes we write a different headline for each of the platforms. A challenge for sure. But, most needed.

This is the weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and will be updated as needed. The next blog post is Monday, June 19.


The art of headline writing: those who cultivate it write the best headlines. In the digital era, headlines are more important than ever.  I remember my editing professors of another era emphasizing strong verbs to make those headlines more authoritative. And the old profs would also remind us not to have split infinitives or dangling prepositions at the end of the lines.  While strong verbs are still welcome, you might as well forget about split infinitives, since one never knows how responsive design will take your headline and split it as it sees fit.

One thing that is still true from my early editing and headline writing lessons: headlines must seduce.

Today, with us referring to our smartphones close to 200 times a day, a seductive headline is imperative, especially if I am turning to my phone to check the time, the weather or  my email messages. I know too well the number of times that I take a “news detour” because there is a headline that tells me I must stop what I am doing to read that story, such as this recent New York Times’ headline: “Comey’s Political Shrewdness is On Display in Tussle with Trump.”

Recently, I have read an article that offers great insights into headline writing. While there is little that is new here, the piece summarizes various categories of headlines and, more importantly, points out the need to write different headlines for different platforms. Here is a highlight:

It’s pretty safe to say that a headline determines how many people will read a piece. But, the evolution of social media has led content publishers to rethink their approach to headlines completely. As a result, the perfect headline no longer exists and we now must craft an eye-catching, clickable headline for almost every channel where our content can be discovered.

We now have to craft an eye-catching, clickable headline for almost every channel where our content can be discovered

The new headline categories

In my observation, there are three types of headlines that are useful when dealing with mobile storytelling.

–The personal headline–“I was there”

We are seeing more first person narrators and it helps to indicate stories that are highly personal, right on the headline.





-The visual headline–“I am going to show you”

Especially when dealing with linear visual storytelling, it is important for the headline to indicate that there will be “show and tell” for the story.




-The fast headline–“Take a look right now”

When we look at that headline on our smartwatch or phone, we may actually be looking for something other than a story. So, how can you make me change course and turn to the story, instead. Not easy, but good, enticing headlines do the trick. Often, these are not headlines related to breaking news. Quite the contrary, these headlines arouse our curiosity.




Speaking Engagements Coming Up

SIPConnect 2017, to be held in Miami June 21-23, is a program of the Inter American Press Association, IAPA, or SIP (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa).  The venue will be the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel.


Join us at the SIPConnect Hemispheric Conference 2017. Organized by the IAPA, SIPConnect is a gathering of media and digital businesses to encourage more audiences and higher revenues. It’s a laboratory for new ideas and successful experiences for the digital transformation. As in the 2016 successful meeting that was attended by media from the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, experts in digital businesses and representatives of innovative companies will participate in this event.

For more information

 TheMarioBlog post #2651







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Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.