I’ve always found headlines fun, a kind of challenge but a freedom to be a bit daring, wild and just plain contrary. You can pick something a bit misleading, something humourous, something argumentative or whatever appeals to you at the time.
The point is to catch the reader’s attention and draw them into the article. By hook or by crook, you want to make them look.
Make sure your headlines are not redundant. Don’t use words which will be skimmed over. Choose words which aren’t already flooding the magazine. Words which the reader isn’t glossing over due to repetition in the theme, content or other articles in the magazine/ publication. Make your headline unique, fresh and unexpected.
Keep it short. Most publications don’t have space for your best creative headlines. If you keep it brief you won’t be sad when the editor chops it down to size. Ideally, a headline fits in one line of column text. If you know the standards for the publication you’re writing for measure your headline against the space available.
As always, keep in mind the tone and style of the publication. Don’t submit something sexy if they avoid that style. Don’t submit something really cutsey if the publication is serious. You may think that’s limiting and takes away from all the fun of writing headlines. But, it doesn’t. It just makes it that much more challenging. Have fun!