Burying Your Own Headline

When I help creatives with their copy (i.e. the words they’ve written about themselves or what they do) I sometimes feel like an old-timey newspaper editor – okay, let me clarify, an old-timey newspaper editor in a Superman movie. “Don’t hide the hook in the fourth paragraph! Why isn’t this on the front page?! That’s the thing. You’re burying the headline!”

Think about it. If a paperboy was screaming out “extra, extra read all about it” while tossing out a stack of the early morning edition of “the-story-of-you” onto an early morning curb (okay, yes, still movieland here), when the closeup reveals the all caps bold headline, shouting out this declaration of you and what you do – what would it say?

Are you being too discreet? Too humble? Probably not, oh you crazy bold creative, you. Most likely you just have trouble seeing what the most nuanced, or interesting, or refreshing, or necessary aspect of your story really is – and you’re treating it like the punchline, an aside, a backstory or a pull-quote, when really, it’s the magic. Are you burying your own headline?

Tara here, and I just got back from a one day Oxygen Series workshop for women with life coach, Jay Pryor. He is my first life coach, and so in my mind, the standard for life coaches. He really tells it to you like it is and holds you accountable.

My favorite thing about Jay is he puts people (often creatives, too) “on the hook” to be accountable to their vision and actions, as in “you are on the hook for doing this one thing by the next time we meet.” Whereas I like to find someone’s hook, as in, “hmmmm, what is the most interesting and condensed version of your personality or talents, but super-concentrated?”

In other words, I like to pull “headlines” out of people.

Now, I catch myself unintentionally burying my own headlines all the time. Sometimes because I’m afraid they’re trite, or I take them for granted. But one of my big ones that usually rises to the top, is that I’m a storyteller, and I’m able to use my creative ability to make visions real for people. I can turn ideas that feel vague, or misty, or nebulous – into real concepts, scenarios – and yeah, headlines.

Here are some headlines we’ve written lately for other creatives:

“My purpose is to make the solopreneur revolution even louder.”

From a writer who realized writing was just a tool for helping solopreneurs like her succeed in business, not just being a successful solopreneur.

“It’s not a costume, it’s wearing my heart and my style, on my sleeve.”

From a vintage clothing designer/blogger who wanted to create a business out of this vision.

“I love teaching people as much as feeding them, it’s just a different kind of nourishment.”

From a plant-based chef who wants to bring a new way of cooking to a market where this approach to food and entertaining isn’t the norm, but is a need and a desire all the same.

“I surprise clients with a new prairie approach to designing outdoor spaces that connect people to nature in their daily lives.”

From a urban prairie landscape designer who wants to create multi-use outdoor spaces with only indigenous (local) plants.

“I help other coaches launch their programs and their confidence, through the roof.”

From a business coach who wants to “help the helpers” design the work and life that takes them to the next level.

When I see headlines rise to the top for creative entrepreneurs, it’s typically after being buried in the chatter of uncertainty, or still feeling like they hadn’t quite proven it, or the chatter of having so many ideas, they forget the crux of what makes them special.

The funny thing is, I didn’t actually write these headlines for these women. These are all things they said out loud or wrote in their own words, but never thought of them as headlines. They thought of them as… support copy.

Now, these headlines are imprinted in their hearts and minds. They punctuate their conversations, their website copy, their emails, and the way they talk about themselves.

So, I challenge you to look at how you’re talking about your business or your creative path, to ask “am I burying the headline?”   If the answer is yes, can you start bringing the thing that you truly are best at (or truly want to be doing) to the forefront of your conversations – and your copy?

I tend to lean towards peppering in these headlines, these new daring ways of thinking about ourselves, into our content – over time. But for some of you, uncovering these gems of clarity can be such an abrupt feeling, you want to shout “stop the presses!” and start changing everything you write and say as soon as possible.


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