I learned a lesson today.
It was a simple one – are you ready?
Don’t get cute with titles for your posts!
Yup it’s as simple as that. I had thought with a post I wrote earlier about this whole kerfuffle about Twitter search that a headline that resembled me banging my head on the keyboard would be a cute way to start. I was wrong – it wasn’t and I probably wasted a perfectly good post with a stupid idea.
Headlines are a tricky beast especially for new bloggers. I use to refer back to what an editor I worked for once told me – Use the least amount of words with the biggest impact. For the newspaper world of old headline writing was considered an art form. Everything from the number of words to the size and style of font used were considered to be the palette used by a great editor.
However that same philosophy doesn’t work in new media. At least not to the same degree that it did in the old media world. In blogging you aren’t restricted the same way by the number of words you can use to create that attention getting headline; but you still have to craft it to get that attention.
Not only are you trying to attract the attention of your regular readers as they skim over their RSS feed but you also want to be attracting the Digg’ers, the Twitterers, the FriendFeeders and any number of other social media services where your headline might show up. I have seen more posts than I care to count prove to be better than their headline lead you to believe.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creative – not at all. but if you get an idea for a headline and your gut shrinks back and whispers damn that’s a cutesy headline banish it immediately and try again. Remember in most cases you only have one shot to get that reader’s attention so you have to make every word could – just don’t make them want to puke in the process.
Hey, like this post? Why not share it with a buddy?Tweet