LinkedIn headlines

Ever been in an online flame war?

That describes an ongoing discussion about LinkedIn headlines with Tom and Alice (not their real names).

Unlike most on LinkedIn, I spent years learning the art of writing great headlines. While working my way through college, I worked Friday and Saturday nights for the San Antonio Express-News, writing sports copy, working with some of the best headline writers in the world.

Lee Iacocca, the C-level exec, once noted that he could convince people to read a story as a college headline writer.

I know from firsthand experience how a great headline can make someone want to read a story in my military publications. It’s the same thing with everyone’s LinkedIn profile.

In 1985, I attended a military editor’s conference in Berlin. The presenter discussed how my 8-page weekly magazine headlines had to compete with other publications.

“Your work is competing with the many other periodicals that people purchase, so you have to write a great headline,” I still hear playing in my head as I coach people on their LinkedIn headlines.