Why Headlines Don’t Matter (Except When They Do)

I have a penchant for witty yet meaningless titles, whether they’re blog posts, song titles or book titles. I prefer wit to meaning.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/895100 by Hans Beyhs http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hbeyhsWith song titles I don’t think it matters. Let’s forget song titles.

With book titles it matters some; but subtitles cover a multitude of sins.

But blog posts, ah, blog posts. Every copywriting expert out there will tell you that getting the headline exactly right is more than half the battle; that the wrong headline essentially invalidates your blog.

Here’s when that doesn’t matter and why I ignore it.

My blog is not the first place people will encounter me. My blog is for my fans, not strangers. Anyone who’s already here doesn’t care what the headline of the blog post is (do you?) They’ll read whatever I write because they’re fans.

But what if someone sees one of my headlines in a tweet or a Facebook status update (can we just call these feebs because it’s shorter?) or on Pinterest or anywhere else for that matter?

One of two things is going to happen.

  1. They will ignore it.
  2. They will follow it.

But wait, you say! Better headlines would entice more people to click the link, bringing more traffic to your blog.

Immaterial.

For me to write sane, rational headlines would be like the owners of a new barbecue joint calling it “Vegan Delight.” Sure, maybe they’ll get lots of that hip, young, vegan traffic. For about two minutes. When they see the great gobs of burned meat, they’ll head for the doors, never to return, except to point out the danger to their friends.

No, my blog is filled with great gobs of burned meat with an especially nice homemade barbecue sauce. And folks who are looking for Vegan Delight had best not follow those links.

Which is why I smear that delicious sauce all over them.

3 thoughts on “Why Headlines Don’t Matter (Except When They Do)

    1. I wish that was at my house. The photographer, Hans Beyhs, had a right feed there, didn’t he?

      I bought a small grill and used it (poorly) exactly once this summer. I’ll practice more next summer. Since the world’s finest bratwurst is made 10 miles from here, I need to eat more of it. (Louie competes internationally and beats out German brat makers.)

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