This is Not a Bad Headline.

By November 26, 2013Content Marketing

For years now, consumption of content has been part of my job. And during that time I have been exposed to some bad headlines. Some really bad headlines.

The subject of headlines was brought up during the webinar that I attended last week, and they are a frequent topic on the blogs that I keep up with.

Even though the body of this post basically only serves as a plug for themselves and their e-books, this article from Copyblogger got me thinking about the best and worst headlines I’ve seen.

Then I realized that I only remember the worst. Really good headlines are rare. And by “really good” I mean those that do their primary job of grabbing your attention as well as sucking you into the article. Rarity in the content business is more often than not a sign of quality (and difficulty).

When I read news and blogs every day, I try to think about what the writer is doing and why. So I thought today I would look through the headlines on my Feedly feed and pick out one that caught my attention and one that did not.

75% Of Yahoos Won’t Eat Their Own Dog Food By Using Yahoo Mail” (Forbes)

I think a little was lost in translation here since I had never heard the phrase “eat one’s own dog food.” So the thought of a “Yahoo” eating dog food made me read on.

Was There a November 14th Google Update?” (Moz)

I admit that I find myself using them with some regularity, but after reading a rhetorical question headline I often think, “well, you tell me!” Even though there might be something in the article worth reading, I wasn’t enticed to click.

To be fair, the above example is simply an ineffective headline, not a bad one. I always remember the worst headline I’ve ever seen, and surprisingly, it doesn’t include a knuckle-dragging pun:

“Motown Throwdown Draws Crowd Downtown.”

….Gross.

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