It’s all in the name. First impressions count. We all know it, but how far would you go to seal the deal and bag yourself an extra reader?

Competition is huge and marketers are desperate to round up their audience. But what has led to some thinking it’s acceptable to totally oversell their writing through a cleverly manipulated title? They might not care if you even read the article. As long as you’ve connected through the link, it’s increasing their reach.

Relentless search for a headline

Research into the science behind a title appears to have reached the inbox of every writer and blogger. In some cases the rules have saturated the writers own creativity and become a formula rather than an attraction to engage the reader. The common tactics (whether done consciously or not) use:

  • Numbers in the heading
  • A controversial statement
  • An opening question

And although I’ve not read it as a rule, it seems everyone thinks they need to use VERY overstated and emotive adjectives to reel in the unsuspecting reader.

Annoying hype

Some companies feel the need to oversell an article or video with embellishment to snare the reader. You’ve seen them before: ‘You’ll never guess what this guy said to his wife…’, or ‘10 reasons why you’ll never look at your IPhone the same way again. They’re so over the top and unrealistic, it’s beyond annoying.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve gone to read an interesting-looking article only to find it doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s to the point where if I think a title looks too good, I won’t open it because I don’t want to be disappointed. How depressing is that?

The danger in misleading your audience

When a brand is labeled with the ‘boy that called wolf’ syndrome, the audience ultimately loses faith. Content marketers are relentlessly preaching about being true to the core and being authentic. Of course your title is hugely important; you don’t want to waste great content by not attracting the audience. But please, don’t mask average content with a fake amazing title.

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The Lush approach

I believe that once a brand has established a positive reputation, their followers will grow. A catchy title may bring in a new crowd but, essentially, great content comes from knowing the brand as well as your own. We like to spend as much time as possible with our clients. It’s necessary. It’s not just about ‘adding the personal touch’. We’re lucky to have grown strong, long-lasting relationships with many becoming friends.

So instead of wasting brainpower by constructing an elaborate title, work on the content. That’s what it’s all about, right?

What’s your view on writing headlines?

Lucy Helliwell