The PR Daily posted Gawker’s Four Tips for Writing Irresistible Headlines. They must be doing something right. Collectively, the sites are attracting 32 million visitors a month. So let’s learn from the good folks at Gawker. How to write a captivating headline in brief:
1. Tell the reader everything in the headline
2. No more than two lines
3. Don’t be too clever
4. Don’t be too smart.
I decided to go to Gawker to see if their headlines would make me take notice and click on the link. Not a lot of Gawker’s personal headlines grabbed me. (They have a section on Prison. Really?!) But the content of their sister sites did get my attention. So what made me click?
Life at Target: Hard Knocks Off the Clock. What I thought: what does this mean? What’s happening at Target? Obviously this is relevant? Later: will this affect the Canadian store that is set to open next year? Read: It’s catchy. It’s intriguing. (Gawker)
Magnetic Toothbrush Holder Cleanly Mounts Your Tolietries for Easy Access. What I thought: Oooh. Really?! Smart! Why did I not think of this before? and how much bacteria is on my toothbrush? Remember that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Lily and Marshall revealed that they shared the same toothbrush and then they found out Ted, their roommate, was also using it too? Read: practical. (Lifehacker)
Handy Map of the United States showing the scariest thing in every single state. What I thought: Negativity can work in a headline. The PR Daily didn’t mention that. I like maps. I like this in graphical format. The stereotypes are true. It’s funny. I need to brush up on my US geography. (I09)
How to Give a Compelling Presentation to a Smart, Jerky or Otherwise Picky Audience. What I thought: useful but will I ever use it in my lifetime? (Don’t think I’ll be presenting anything to Jeff Bezos soon.) Then I realized this article was by Steve Yegge, who became famous for his insightful, honest look at Google that was meant to only employees but got leaked. So I continued to read it because I was intrigued by his story. Read: practical; how to deal with a situation that is out of your control. (Answer: admit your shortcomings, laugh, and learn from the mistake). (Lifehacker)
A stunning time-lapse of Iceland’s nightless summer. What I thought: I like Iceland. I like stunning. I like nightless summers. Time-lapse I can deal with. Read: all catch phrases and a great video. (Io9)
How do you write a captivating headline? How much time do you think about your headlines?