Writing headlines that win with new audiences

The right words aren’t just a powerful way to summarize a story — they’re the best tool we have to reach occasional readers and convert them to paying subscribers. In search and social channels, sharp headlines find and keep loyal audiences. Join content strategy analyst Chris White and Midwest DOT managers Catherine Rogers and Bobby Shipman as they share data-proven ways to craft engaging headlines that bring in new readers again and again. These web gurus scoured our data looking for ways to draw in new readers with powerful headlines. Here’s what they found – and how it can work for your stories.

Study out of Australia … “The effects of subtle misinformation in news headlines.”
Summarized in the New Yorker: https://bit.ly/3gTwMk5
Abstract of the study: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-44652-001

Study out of the Netherlands… “What clicks actually mean”
Abstract : https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1464884916688290


More training on Reporting & Writing:

How a local sports reporter found her TikTok audience

Bucks County Courier Times/The Intelligencer sports reporter Nur B. Adam started creating content on her TikTok account at the start of the spring season and has used it to connect with the student athletes she covers. She’s gotten them to participate in videos, including some where they tap into the latest viral trend on the popular app. Some have gone viral, including one that has over 182,000 views and 18,700 likes. Her video rating her photos got 78,000 views, and now she’s created a series of videos. Network social media expert Jaime Cárdenas will interview Nur in an informal conversation and demo open to any of our journalists.

Featuring: Nur B. Adam, sports reporter in Bucks County, Pa., and network social media expert Jaime Cárdenas


More training on Video:

SEO Champions – October 2021 Deep Dive

The SEO champions team reviewed an interesting Google Trends top-of-funnel case study, discussed YouTube SEO recommendations and generated plenty of content ideas to steal from the Fall & Holiday Season brainstorm session.


More training on SEO:

Conversational headlines

Getting readers to tap your story starts ​with a headline that makes them a promise​.


More training on Design:

Improving our relationship with readers

Our reporting time has never been more valuable — every story we write needs to reach an audience, prompting illumination and change. Understanding who our audiences are, the reasons they seek us out and how we can earn and keep their support is essential to building a sustainable plan for journalism’s future.​ This is a primer on the the audience funnel. First, we will do an audience health checkup and what we can do to help move readers through the loyalty funnel. Then we explore what a reader NEEDS from our content  – and making sure we deliver.


More training on Metrics tools:

Social media production tricks

Learn how to resize images to perfectly fit any format for a social channel using the Sprout Social Landscape image resizer.

Links to tools: 

Sprout Social Landscape image resizer: https://sproutsocial.com/landscape/

Sprout Social image sizing guide: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-image-sizes-guide/

Spot the Troll: https://spotthetroll.org/


More training on Social:

Basic databases in Google Flourish and other tools

Do you have a dataset you want to feature in your article as a table or a searchable database? There are a few easy tools to help you show your work: Google Flourish, Airtable and Tableizer. 

Links to tools: 

Google Flourish (set up a free account prior): https://flourish.studio/

Airtable: https://airtable.com/

Tableizer: https://tableizer.journalistopia.com/

Data to Build the Tables and Databases

COVID-19 Cases/Deaths by County: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/114DjZZqJFxoOV_4lxgyzDH9X-kveXDOH/edit?usp=drive_web&ouid=101717595278789621083&rtpof=true

Football Coach Salaries: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/10UnuNnB0McI_g2Qhxl91GRp_ZQ3i-0AU

Link to PowerPoint:  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1kP6atqFTMi9kwq-PuWBnNky_pXMAaTN5/edit?usp=drive_web&ouid=101717595278789621083&rtpof=true


More training on Investigative:

Google Earth Suite

We’ll explore three free Google Earth tools: Pro, Studio and Timelapse. These will help you visualize stories in a whole new way.

Google Earth Pro (download to hard drive here; free tool): https://www.google.com/earth/versions/

Google Earth Timelapse: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/

Google Earth Studio: https://www.google.com/earth/studio/

Juxtapose slider: https://juxtapose.knightlab.com/

Example of Juxtapose and Earth images: http://redlineproject.org/rising_lakefront.php


More training on Digital design and production:

Investigative/data skills series: Data visualization using Infogram

Data visualization for everyone using InfoGram, an easy but powerful tool available to journalists across Gannett. 

Here’s data for a line chart example we used.  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HGXDys6Rxd9oqYIfOseTjzp2XcBQo13E0VJhkfVn3GQ/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s the MVP data from Sports Reference as an example we used, with pivot table and final sheet tabs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NMANIMwjiXFm4Yb4VRD7d8EoWYY-6Pn4LSE1lJBT-VY/edit?usp=sharing

iframe wrapper for embedding https://www.gannett-cdn.com/experiments/usatoday/tools/static-embed-generator/index.html

More detail on the table feature in Infogram https://infogram.com/covid-19-vaccines-at-ford-field-and-detroit-mobile-sites-1hdw2jplgwn8j2l

xample of an image, text and chart combo on one infogram: https://infogram.com/candidate-josh-kaul-1h8n6mkq58d92xo?live


More training on Design: