You need a great headline…and great content

We all know how important headlines are.  When we are constantly scanning our devices, we need to be able to select what we want to read quickly, and headlines help us do that. So, no argument here about great headlines.

However, what happens when the article associated with the great headline is not so great?

Case in point: My mother happened to see a headline promising seven secrets to getting the best seats on a plane. She was intrigued as she flies quite frequently.  And as anybody who has flown in the past year knows,  comfortable seating is now a thing of the past as airlines try to cram more seats in a plane while charging fees for sitting in areas like the bulkhead and emergency row.

Well, guess what the main “secret” to getting a better seat is? Pay for it. Seriously. This article, promising seven “secrets” to get better seats, had two main suggestions (a more accurate term for what the article offered): check the aircraft seating map and pay if you have to.

Needless to say, this useless article did not live up to its headline. Since the article was so poor, I don’t even remember who wrote it. However, I do know what website this garbage was on. It makes me question whether other articles on that website are as bad.

The bottom line is that writing a great headline is not enough. If your content fails to live up to headline what you are doing is tricking your readers, and readers do not like to be tricked.

Getting readers to your content is important, but if your content disappoints, you will end up with disappointed readers. That is not a strategy for growth.

Have you come across articles that don’t live up to their headlines? Did that change your behavior toward the source?



About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

2 thoughts on “You need a great headline…and great content”

  1. Had a similar discussion today, on the overuse of !!! in content. It’s lazy and cheap, this Buzzfeed (yeah, I’ve been down that rabbit hole a few times) or worse, Upworthy (which somehow I luckily miss most of it) style of what I call linkbait and switch. It’s promising something life-changing or amazing, then pulling the rug. Heck, every time an airline I’ve ‘liked’ runs a new post (read: blatant advertisement) on FB hyping it’s new sale fares, they get nailed in the comments. Because it’s one route no one wants at a discount, the rest.. not so salesy.

    What annoys me more than the marketing crap, have to admit, are the ‘media’ sites doing this for ads and eyeballs. HP was famous for keyword stuffing; others have been on this click click whoring gallery binge. But most are just this: the promise of something new and interesting that’s a clever headline and nothing more but a blurb, then maybe a link to someone else’s ‘real’ story. ugh. I hate it too, that ‘there’s 3 minutes of my life I’ll never get back’ feeling. FWIW.

    1. Hi Davina,
      Yes, media sites/websites are all looking for eyeballs. They don’t seem to care whether those eyeballs ever return though. You can be hoodwinked once or twice, but more?
      Thanks for sharing!

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