June 30, 2009 / Idea File Supplement

Teaser Tips

Written by Idea File Staff

The teaser attracts by arousing curiosity in the reader. This wordplay can be challenging and fun.

Rethink or reword a cliché
Using clichés for their literal meaning or changing a word in them for a clever turn of phrase used to be just a game that my friends and I played when the fish weren’t biting. But who would have thought that our time-waster would make a device for headline writing?

Keeping Their Heads Above Water
for a story on a struggling swim team
Funny Money
for a story on the drama club fundraising improvisation show.
Facing the Music
for a story on student conductors
As Easy as Pi
for a story on a winning math team

Try out homonyms
I’m telling you, nothing’s funnier in Ferris, Texas, than a guy with a minnow in his mouth telling you he’s “waiting with baited breath.” Homonyms can by useful, especially when you tie them into idioms.

To Put It Planely
for the woodworking class story, especially if the story angle was a behind-the-scenes focus on what really goes on in the woodshop
Acts to Grind
for a story about the drama club working hard on their play
Thinking on Their Feat
for a story about how much the soccer team relishes their state championship
Flee Control for a story about how hall monitors had a tough time keeping students from leaving campus for lunch

Don’t forget the teller
A good teaser headline should always be accompanied with a good teller or explanatory subhead. The teller is Batman’s Robin. It’s Laurel’s Hardy. It’s Simon’s Garfunkel. The teller will help explain the wordplay of the teaser and help focus the reader.

Brainstorming examples

Spread topic: Cooking class
Eating their cake and baking it too
Panhandling for food
Racking their brains
Taste testers

Cooking class with competition success
Taste of success
Serving them right
Putting stock in their future
Food for thought

Cooking class serves as stress reliever for students
Peace of cake
Blowing the lid off their class
At their boiling points
Out of the pressure cooker and into the kitchen

return to A Few Clever Words

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.