Misleading Headlines – There Goes Your CredibilityAuthor: Jamie | Filed under: Copywriting
Last week I was surprised to read so many blog articles that lured me in with a misleading headline and failed to deliver.
I’d never really noticed it on this scale before and it got me thinking about the reasons why people do it and how it could affect their business.
Desperate for attention?
Because of crowded social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, it’s harder than ever to get your company noticed amongst all the ‘noise’.
It seems this fact is recognised by a lot of organisations, small businesses and media outlets and twisting a headline to get attention seems to be more commonplace – certainly based on what I saw last week.
I’m not going to name any specific blog articles or websites here, but the examples included;
- A headline that pre-empted an event that may never happen.
- A headline that bore no relation to the content of the article.
- A headline that stated something as fact that then mentioned it as a possibility in the body of the article.
Using misleading headlines in these cases paid off to an extent as they got my attention and made me read the articles. However, it was a small victory as I’ll explain below.
A matter of mistrust
Having been hooked by false headlines, my opinion of the sites I read the articles on has plummeted below zero.
Like most other business owners, my time is precious. Too precious to be reading articles which don’t deliver on the promise of their headlines that’s for sure.
The end result is that I’ll never read any of these blogs again. I’ve also stopped following them on Twitter and told a lot of people about them who were as scathing as I was.
How to stand out for all the right reasons
It is harder than before to get blog articles noticed, but you should always have your readers in mind. Imagine I’d written a post entitled “How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities” and then not actually listed any practical methods, just simply written about the benefits of guest blogging – how would you feel after reading that article?
The best way to stand out for the right reasons is to give careful thought to your content. If you come up with an original idea for an article or a new take on an existing topic for example, an accurate headline should be enough to grab attention.
For example, let’s say everyone in your industry is up in arms about some new legislation being impossible to work with. There will be many articles on this with most people saying the same things. However, if you choose to pick out some positive aspects and write about those with a matching headline, you’ll get readers without having to resort to making things up.
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