Using News Headlines to Promote Your Retail Store

News is around us all day every day in this world of mobile twenty four hour news coverage. From the serious to celebrity to quirky, news is more accessible than ever before.

Retailers have an opportunity to tap into this twenty four hour news cycle and leverage it to their commercial advantage in a number of ways.

The most passive and simple way is to place a large flat screen TV within the business and thereby provide customers with access to current news. This is a boring and uncreative approach to leveraging news. But it works for many businesses today. It can show relevance and provide entertainment for customers who are browsing or waiting for service.

The are far more creative ways to leverage news coverage to drive traffic and sales for your retail store. Here are some of them to get you thinking:

Recreate a news event in your window. Connect with a major news story, from today or in history, which connects even vaguely with your type of business, and recreate a scene in your window.

This needs to be a scene which is readily identifiable to the story and based on a story with mass appeal. The display needs to be eye catching – either for its authenticity or with the creative and bold take it represents of the story.

What you want here is a window display which generates excellent word of mouth, which brings new people to your shop window.

It also has to be the type of display which can work for at least a couple of weeks, so that you get a reasonable return on your investment.

React to a story. If there is a local story about a person or group in need. Consider creating a window display which appeals for support. Use your business as a focus point for drawing attention to the issue and raising funds.

Your commitment demonstrates your care for causes and your preparedness to use your business for issues for the greater community good.

The window display could lead into the store with engagement through donation collection, education of shoppers or some other form of practical engagement to promote the cause which is the focus of the story.

Focus on people. Celebrities in the news could be relevant to your type of retail business. If so, consider an interactive engagement.

For example, consider hosting your own red carpet look alike fashion parade around the same time as the Oscars or Emmys. This promotes the fashion business and provides an opportunity for a bit of local fun.

No matter how you connect with a news story, do it in a fun and professional way. Choose stories and events which speak t you, your customers and the commercial needs of the business.

Measure the benefits delivered by your engagement and learn whether this approach is good for business. If so, consider new story related events four to six times a year. Become known for being topical and creative. This will drive great word of mouth for your business.

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Scanning News Headlines to Understand and Make Sense of the World

Most people read one or two news service and feel they are indeed in the know. They believe they have a handle on what is going on and why? Yet, having scanned literally 100s of new sources every day for over 9-years now, I can tell you that most people who read the newspaper articles written at an eighth grade reading level do not know what on Earth they are talking about.

In fact, I’d say they merely spout exactly what they are told and think that’s all there is. That is scary, because these people also vote. Now then, let’s look at the general news items that one would see if they read the New York Times, a local newspaper and perhaps a regional newspaper on February 11, 2009:

Elections very close in Israel – political tension mounts
Shipment Index 18-year Low
Boeing Gets $3B in C-17 Air Mobility Contract (C-17s)
UAE Installing Raytheon Patriot Missile Shield (Raytheon)
Nike Layoffs 1400
Muzak files Chapter 11
GM Cuts 10,000 More Layoffs – anyone left?
Southwest to Install Internet Access on Aircraft
USPS to Raise Stamps to 44 cents
Rockwell Collins – Announces huge layoffs
Indio Chamber of Commerce President forced out (financial chamber losses)
Total Cost for Bailout 2.5 Trillion from here 350 B from government more, private and FED
Stimulus Package has enough support to pass – only details now

Now, I ask you is this all that happened in the world on that day? Heavens no, in fact, I have a list of 40 items that were news worthy on that day and passed over 300 that I felt were not important, because they were either predictable or should have been expected, but this is from my point of view, someone whose been studying headlines and news for nearly 10-years on a daily basis.

Above, are only 13 items, see the point. So, I ask you have you yet considered what you are missing? Think on this.

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News Headlines for 2010 We Didn’t See – But Could Have

Here is a smattering of imaginary news headlines from across the nation’s landscape of current events. Some might get you to crack a smile or bust out into a good belly laugh. Here is the odd thing, none of them were meant to be funny.

Alaska-
-Poor spellers – elect poor loser
-Old political machinery found frozen in place

Massachusetts-
-It’s not a prank they still got Frank

California-
-Pot is Not
-Brown Still Around?
-Denair school officials ferret out dangerous flag boy on bike.
-Lawmakers consider renaming California – Mexico Department of Education

Washington DC-
-Pelosi not fired – just demoted

Nevada-
-Old Ironsides found rusting in Silver State

New York-
-Federal Court in Manhattan Brutally slaps Terrorist on the Wrist

Florida-
-okraM oibuR – big reversal in Florida

Arizona-
-Prez tells Brewer to quit silly lawmaking – Just draw a line and dare them to cross it

Hollywood-
-Massive broken sewer line remains un-repaired – Stench fills the nation

Barcelona-
-Quarter million welcome Pope – 200 or so just kiss it off

United Nations News-
-New Religious Freedom Laws Proposed, the “Just Shut up Resolution”

Indonesia-
-Thanks for the visit, next time just send us the 2 billion and stay home
-What Jobs?

Gay Agenda-
-Home Market Plunges – Lots of free closet space found
-Abortionists re-think – gay man declares he knew he was gay before he was born
-Sodomy laws – Rebuked, repealed, reversed and re-colored pink

News and Media-
-Mainstream media cries wolf over fox they claim is a hog

Candidates in 2012-
-Too many cooks apply to make broth
-Anyone who can survive that Tundra deserves to be President

Military-
-Graffiti found in base shower room “I didn’t ask and you better not tell”

Celebrities-
-Sheen says it was only an experiment – closet time failed to change her preferences

Atheism-
-At least we were willing to die for what we don’t believe in

Iran news clarified-
-You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him gather moss

First Lady News-
-Two daddies is OK but one Happy Meal should be a felony

Sharia Law-
-Women’s rights groups disappear across America – Was it the Rapture?

Economy-
-Obama unveils plan; spend ourselves into a hole so deep our creditors can’t find us

Israel-
-World decries dehumanizing home building on Israeli soil

China-
-China to U.S. – What happened to your fortune – cookie?

Civil Rights-
-White Honkies demand to be called Italian Americans, Polish Americans, French Americans, Spanish Americans, Chinese Americans, Dutch Americans, Japanese Americans…

Churches-
-Mega pastor says abundant times coming – prophets, pundits and economist are all boobs

Airport Security-
-Travelers OK with peek or pat policy as long as they don’t start glowing in the dark

Senate Ethics-
-Rangel defense: Hey, I’m 80, leave me alone

Disclaimer: Not really. If I’m brought to task for any of these imaginary headlines I might use the Rangel defense but I’ve got a way to go until I’m 80. Considering how long the detainees in Guantanamo have waited for trials in the land of “a right to a speedy trial” I guess I won’t worry.

As for trying to explain why these absurdities actually exist in this nation today I can only offer one possible explanation. Perhaps Forrest Gump’s mother was right “stupid is as stupid does.” No insult intended to all those Americans who have not lost their way; for the rest I guess I’ll have to resort to the “if the shoe fits” defense.

If for some reason all these defenses fail I will then resort to hiring a lawyer who knows how to get me a venue in a Manhattan Federal Court. I hear they are real easy there.

Tongue in cheek makes fun of absurdities in a backdoor kind of way but describing these things such as they are also has a ring of truth and sadness too it. Yanking prayer out of our schools in the sixties seemed liked a small matter to some, but now we have actually come to the place where our own President skipped the National Day of Prayer for other things.

The headline that might be appropriate for this generation could be, “America enters the fast paced and confusing twenty first century – Hasn’t got a prayer”

Do I really think a few prayers would change the headlines and make life a little less confusing? A more honest question would be; how have we been doing without prayers so far? My best advice is that we never let a single day pass without asking God to help our nation.

The Apostle James clearly said that no prayer goes unheeded and no prayer is without some result.

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How to Put News Headlines to Work in Your Business

The single most important factor in the success of an advertisement is the headline. In fact, studies show that the headline is 50-75 percent responsible for the success or failure of the advertisement! With all that is competing for our time and attention, the headline must stand out, grab our attention, and compel us to read further. The decision to read on or skip the ad completely is made in just seconds, based largely on the effectiveness of the headline. Let’s look at the formula behind some of the most successful headlines of all time.

One of the most important functions of advertising is to present new products or services, tell about new improvements, or special purchasing opportunities. Department stores use news headlines because they reliably bring people into the store. Automobile manufacturers use news headlines because they predictably grab your attention. News headlines are great for getting attention and promoting sales. Here are 7 different news headline formulas along with a couple of examples of each formula in use.

1. Begin your headline with the word “Introducing”

Introducing the All-New Lexus 2013 GS

Introducing a Special Gift for a Special Time of Year

2. Begin your headline with the word “Announcing”

Announcing Flash Media Server 4.5 on Amazon Web Services

Announcing a New Help in Solving the Homeowner’s Problem

An Important Announcement to Homeowners (the word “Announcing” can also be used in other forms or elsewhere in the headline as in this example)

3. Use words that have an announcement quality

Presenting the New iPad

Thank You for Making us America’s Truck Company

4. Begin your headline with the word “New”

New Passenger Side Airbag

New Fuel Efficient Engine

5. Begin your headline with the word “Now”

Now Available for the iPad and Kindle

Now Available in Charlotte!

6. Begin your headline with the words “At last”

At Last! Now You Can Have All of Your Flight Charts on Your iPad

At Last! A Toothbrush Guaranteed for 6 Months

7. Put a date into your headline

Reduce Your Golf Handicap With These New 2012 Golf Clubs

April Air Conditioning Tune-Up Special

Save 20% on Your Utilities this Year

News style headlines are great for standing out and grabbing attention. Above are seven different ways to create a news style headline. There is a reason that you see these formulas for news headlines used so often. They work for other businesses and they’ll work for you too. If you split test your headlines, you’ll soon find out Which headline prduces the biggest response. How can you use a news style headline for your business?

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Can You Copyright News Headlines?

This article addresses the law relating to copyright in news headlines and explores the case law relating to whether media publishers can protect their headlines as original literary works.

Media companies have tried to claim copyright protection over newspaper headlines reproduced on the internet. News publishers have claimed that news headlines qualify for copyright protection as original literary works under copyright legislation. As early as 1918 in the case of International News Service v Associated Press 248 U.S. 215 the US Supreme Court has held that there can be no copyright in facts or ‘news of the day’.

However unlike in Commonwealth countries like Australia where there is no recognition of a tort of misappropriation the United States recognises a doctrine of misappropriation of hot news. This tort has enabled media publishers and other organisations to gain the right to protect other entities from publishing certain ‘facts’ or data, including news and other time-sensitive information during a certain window period to enable the organisation which has invested in gathering the data can recoup their investment. There are a number of criteria which must be satisfied to prevail in an action of hot news misappropriation

As stated above, Commonwealth Courts have rejected a tort of unfair competition as framed in the United States and have decided such cases solely on the basis of copyright law. Courts have been reluctant to afford literary copyright to titles, characters and news headlines. However newspaper publishers have only recently brought legal action in Australia for copyright infringement in their headlines and portions of their articles on the basis that the reproduction or abstracting of headlines is equivalent to theft of their content. Newspaper publishers have tried to obtain copyright protection in their headlines as discrete original literary works under copyright legislation.

For copyright protection to exist a literary work must exist and not every piece of writing or printing will constitute a literary work within the meaning of the law.

Typically, single words, short phrases, advertising slogans, characters and news headlines have been refused copyright protection even where they have been invented or newly coined by an author. The courts have given different reasons for denying copyright protection to such works. One reason offered by the Courts is that the ‘works’ are too trivial or not substantial enough to qualify for copyright protection. The case of Exxon Corporation v Exxon Insurance Consultants Ltd (1981) 3 All ER 241 is a leading English precedent where copyright was refused for the word Exxon as an original literary work.

Exxon argued it enjoyed copyright in the word Exxon having invested time and energy in employing linguists to invent the word, contending that the actual size of the literary work doesn’t preclude a work from acquiring copyright protection. The court found that the work was too short or slight to amount to a copyright work.

The Court also stated that although the word was invented and original it had no particular meaning, comparing it with the word ‘Jabberwocky’ used for Lewis Carroll’s famous poem. US case law has only recognised limited intellectual property rights in invented names or fictional characters in exceptional cases. There is no modern English or Australian case which has recognised that titles, phrases, song and book titles should be granted copyright protection.

Publishers asserting copyright in headlines contend that compiling and arresting headlines involves a high degree of novelty and creativity, and that headlines should qualify as original literary works. To be a literary work, a work has to convey pleasure or afford enjoyment or instruction. A literary work must also be original, and to satisfy the test of originality it must be original not just in the sense of originating from an identifiable author rather than copied, but also original in the particular form of expression in which an author conveys ideas or information. This is because copyright is not meant to protect facts or ideas.

The question whether copyright can subsist in newspaper headlines was discussed briefly by a Judge in a Scottish case called Shetland Times Ltd v Wills [1997] FSH 604. The Judge didn’t arrive at a final conclusion as to whether a newspaper headline can be a literary work, but expressed reservations about granting copyright to headlines, especially where they only provide a brief indication of the subject matter of the items they refer to in an article.

Newspaper headlines are similar in nature to titles of a book or other works and titles, slogans and short phrases which have been refused copyright protection. In the case of IceTV Pty Ltd v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd [2009] HCA 14, the High Court held that no copyright can subsist in a programme title alone. The Courts have based their reasons for refusing copyright protection to such works both of the basis that they are too short (see Francis Day & Hunter Ltd v Twentieth Century Fox Corp Ltd (194) AC 112) or alternatively that titles of newspapers, songs, magazines, books, single words and advertising slogans lack sufficient originality to attract copyright protection.

The title ‘Opportunity Knocks’ for a game show was refused protection, as was the title “The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” for a song and “Splendid Misery” for a novel. Courts have also refused copyright protection for invented names such as Kojak and newspaper titles such as ‘The Mirror’. Such titles and names may however be protected by other forms of intellectual property such as trademark law or the tort of passing off.

Whilst Courts have recognised that newspaper headlines may involve creative flair and be clever and engaging but represent little more than the fact or idea conveyed.

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Reed International Books Australia Pty Ltd the Federal Court of Australia has ruled that newspaper headlines are not capable of copyright protection. Reed and collected and reproduced the news headlines and articles appearing in the Australian Financial Review on it’s Abix subscription service. Fairfax alleged that by producing abstracts of the articles in their service Reed had infringed the copyright in a number of works, being the headlines as a separate literary work and in the headline and article together, as a ‘combination work’, all of the articles, headlines and bylines as a ‘compilation’ and also published edition copyright in each of the Australian Financial Review. The Court held that the headline was too trivial to be copyrightable and did not amount to a substantial part of the combination work so as to amount to infringement and the combination work didn’t amount to a work of joint authorship.

The law in the United States is somewhat unsettled in relation to the rights of news aggreggators to engage in such activity due to the existence of the tort of unfair competition which is recognised in some US States.

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