“Headlines are the single most important piece of a blog post right now.”
This was one of the rewards for a headline I clicked on today. I wish I could tell you how angry that sentence makes me, or how often I click on a headline, hoping against hope, that I’m not going to be lead to a post that either has nothing to do with the headline, or is a complete contradiction of a sensational headline.
“Just as you wouldn’t dream of going fishing without baiting your hook,” the Blog Herald wrote, “you shouldn’t post a blog entry without a great headline.”
I have no real issue with that statement. It’s just logical, right? If you want people to come read your writing, you should write a headline that will encourage them do that. I get it. What makes me angry is that often the headline is not only the most important part of the blog post, it’s often the only thing of value… and even that is debatable.
“Think of it as the bait that encourages people to click,” they continue. “A hook baited with something unappealing, like crickets when the fish wants a worm, won’t get any bites. A hook baited with a big juicy worm is exactly what the fish desires and it will score plenty of action.”
And too often, the bait is all there is. The hook is an ad-laced blog site designed to attract eyeballs, not readers. Or it’s a sensational headline with a less than sensational story behind it. When I see bait on a hook, I’m interested in more than the bait. I’m hoping the hook is leading me to a bigger meal. I’m not interested in being someone’s catch and release form of fun and I’m certainly not interested in being eaten. I’m not a fish. And my readers aren’t fish.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the most important piece of a blog post right now was the content of the blog post itself? A boy can dream.