If you over-think your article's headline, there's a danger you might forget the importance of what comes next — the opening sentence. (Note to self: you need to brush up on this also).
Thankfully Kat Thomas has compiled a useful list of ways to avoid entrapment in cliche:
- Simply tell the reader what the subject is.
- Make a blunt statement.
- Cite a statistic.
- Tell a first-person anecdote that's relevant to the subject.
- Tell a third-person anecdote.
- Put up a straw man, then knock it down.
- Summarize a current state of affairs (or the conventional wisdom), then tell what's changed.
- Summarize previous research, then tell what new research has found.
- Involve the reader in a bit of conjecture.
- Start with a quotation from a famous figure. (But beware of triteness.)
- Commit an egregious exaggeration. Then explain what the (less extreme) reality is.
Posted to writing in 2013.