Why do I look forward to reading USA Today and the Washington Post?

Because of headlines like these.

Opened the newspaper to Friday’s Destinations and Diversions section and there was a fascinating article about the annual BRAG race (Bike Ride Across Georgia) that has hundreds of bicycle riders traversing all 406 miles of the state.

The headline?

Georgia on their Behinds.

That’s one of the reasons I’m a USA Today and Washington Post junkie. My morning ritual is to take my dog, Murphy, out for a walk around the lake and then return to my favorite chair by the window, cup of coffee in one hand, morning papers in the other.

The reporters and editors at both of these newspapers are absolutely brilliant with their headlines. Not a day goes by, and that is not an exaggeration, that I don’t laugh out loud at some clever play on words.

For example, Washington Post ran a story by staff writer William Booth about director David Lynch, (he of Blue Velvet fame), who is presenting lectures on Transcendental Meditation at universities across the country. His material is based on the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, (the Beatles’ former guru). The headline of this article? Yogi Bearer.

Not to be outdone, business writer Steven Pearlstein wrote about the anxiety some A-types were feeling at the prospect of not having access to their Blackberries due to pending litigation. What was the title of his article that discussed the dangers of not protecting proprietary technology? Big Firms Caught With Their Patents Down.

That same issue of the Post featured a book review by Carolyn See about a biography written by Linda Bird Francke called On the Road with Francis of Assisi. The title of See’s review? A Saint for Sore Eyes.

A friend told me about a headline in the Wall Street Journal that caught her attention. The article described an interesting development in the airline industry. Rather than turning in their frequent flier miles for more flights (a win for the carriers), many customers are “hoarding” their miles in the hopes of exchanging them for high-dollar items such as flat panel TVs and diamond earrings. The name of the article? Now Hoarding.

You may be thinking, “It takes time to come up with creative titles. I’m busy enough as it is.”

Ask yourself, “Is it worth a few minutes of my time to create a headline that stops people in their mental tracks and compels them to read my article, web copy, ad, report, or proposal? What’s a writing project I’m working on right now? Does it have a title that will grab people’s attention and motivate them to drop what they’re doing and read my work?”

If so, great. If no, you might want to order my POP! CD series that teaches you how to develop attention-grabbing titles, taglines, and headlines at www.SamHorn.com.