Columnist confesses: 'I Read the National Enquirer!'
Yes, I read the National Enquirer. And yes, I consider it required reading for fundraisers who are serious about motivating people to join in their good causes. I hope today to show you why.
But first, let me clear the air: I know the National Enquirer is tacky. It’s low, sensationalistic and unattractive.
But it’s a superb example of a publication that’s hell-bent on being read. That’s a quality every fundraiser should cultivate.
I’ve spent a scarce amount of time studying the Enquirer, and I’ve found what I think are the keys to its power.
This is where the Enquirer’s writers really earn their salaries. They understand that without powerful headlines, you don’t draw many readers into your stories.
● They tell the story. Like good journalistic headlines, Enquirer headlines give away the meat of the story. But they do it with vigor, combining specificity with strong verbs and a focus on the emotional core of the story. Like this one: “Hero kitty saves owner’s life by keeping her awake during terrifying ordeal.” If that story appeared in a nonprofit’s newsletter, I bet the headline would be something like: “Feline companions improving quality of life.”
● They have multiple elements. Nearly every headline has a kicker (above) and a subhead (below) to complete the narrative arc of the headline. This allows a headline to really tell the story — not just label it.
● They are about human relationships. Enquirer headlines go out of their way to identify relationships: Words like “hubby,” “mom” and “boyfriend” are in nearly every headline because those things are intrinsically interesting to just about everyone.
● They use colloquial language. They are written the way folks talk, not in artificial journalese. Instead of “Martha Stewart program faces ratings struggle,” the Enquirer gives us “Martha gets THE AX.”