Sirwin
Sirwin

Breaking down different HL (headline) styles

By LeftFooted | LeftFooted's Antics | 13 Apr 2024


It's hard to believe, I know, but you could get a job as a 'Headline Strategist', if you wanted to.


It's a thing. It's an actual job, a job description and position.


Most companies don't have a headline strategist, of course, and if they do, the headline strategist coincides with the Audience Editor, which is another job that people may not know actually exists.


By the way, side note, the person who creates headlines, perhaps counterintuitively, is often NOT the person that writes the article.


But different companies use different strategies for headlines, and I thought it'd be fun, since I'm at an airport and I'm bored, to break them down.

And in order to do that, I'm gonna play around starting from one headline. The headline I'm gonna be using to showcase what different headline strategies look like is: "Publish0x reader buys Solana"


The headline that gives everything away

 

Example: "Publish0x reader, a crypto-based social media platform and website, buys Solana, one of the largest cryptocurrencies and L1 blockchains"


It may sound dumb but it's a thing, there are a lot of websites that do that.

They give away everything in the title, you almost don't need to read the story because you've already gathered every bit of information you could possibly need from the headline.

I've never understood it, to be honest, but then again that's just my 2 cents.


The publication that wants to be cryptic but ends up sounding pompous, and no one gets it (and no one cares anyway)

 

Example: "The asynchronous tactic this investor is using to beat the market"


This, in my view, is the worst possible headline strategy. Cryptic headlines don't work because people don't get it. And they don't care.

And it gets worse, by being cryptic, one can, sometimes, come across as arrogant.

And nothing is worse than coming across as condescending.

It alienates readers, which is the exact opposite of what you want.


The clickbait headline

 

Example: "Bitcoin investor dumps funds into failing project"


Clickbait is dangerous. As a short-term strategy, it might work. As a long-term strategy, it never does.

The headline I used as example uses every trick in the book. Clickbait essentially consists of oversimplifying and misleading at the same time (Bitcoin investor = Publish0x reader is a misleading oversimplification) and sometimes 'clickbait' also means making a temporary situation sound permanent, and worse than it is.

In this case, the clickbait part is trying to make the fact that Solana is a bit down, temporarily, look like Solana is failing.

Which is obvious bulls**t.

But a good example of what clickbait is.


The publication that can't hide personal emotions and impressions and ends up sounding resentful

 

Example: "Crypto investor fuels another scam"


We've seen this often with crypto, but it is unfortunately always common.

Oftentimes, for one reason or another, editorial lines of a certain publication clearly showcases their intentions, or their impressions.

There are essentially only two ways you can behave, editorially, you can either be open about your view, in which case you can write what you want or you can be neutral, in which case you always have to remain neutral.

The problem is, way too often, publications say they're neutral, but act like they don't.

We've seen that way too often with crypto.

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LeftFooted
LeftFooted

I’m a left-footed duck that loves writing. I write about cars, watches, craft beer and, you’ve guessed it, crypto Also active on read.cash


LeftFooted's Antics
LeftFooted's Antics

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