Are Tricky News Item Titles in the Newspapers and Online Wasting Our Time?

Over the years, I’ve had a number of stories written about myself, and my company. I’ve always thought that it was interesting those tricky little titles above the articles in the newspaper. Most people who are in the news industry know there are different people who write the headlines, then the actual reporter that writes the article. Where do they come up with all these tricky little titles you ask?

Well, it’s a skill that is developed over time, and it takes a special kind of creative mind to do it. The trick is to get someone to read the title twice, something that catches their eye, using a double entendre, some alliteration, or some ambiguous double meaning of the words or phrases. Unfortunately, it also causes conflicts where it doesn’t belong, and it causes people to jump to conclusion before they’ve actually read the article.

Some people just scan the newspaper, read the headlines, and assume they know what’s going on. But you can’t do that, not as long as there are people playing around with words in the titles. The same thing happens online because the attention span of the average Internet surfer who is looking in scanning through news is that of a gnat. And they often willy-nilly click on an article because they like the title, and in they read it and decide that they were bamboozled or tricked into reading it. They then click out in anger.

Yes, some might say that is okay because the online newspaper received more imprints for their advertisers, but if they do it too much eventually the Internet surfers who are looking for their news for the day and only have a few minutes to do it, will no longer come back. So let me ask you a question, because it came up the other day at our think tank; are tricky news titles in the newspaper wasting our time online? Well, what say you?

Apparently, people believe that the double meaning titles that you see at the grocery store checkout line in those newspapers field with the paparazzi nonsense are going to work far into the future. Indeed, I would submit to you that eventually that strategy is going to fall on its face, and Internet surfers will eventually become frustrated with it all. No, that hasn’t happened yet, and the strategy probably is working for increasing the number of click thrus – but I would submit to you; there is more to life than a click-through rate.

It’s very hard to convert people who are reading an ad online into buying a product, after t


hey’ve already been tricked once, and I don’t think it’s doing the advertisers any good. So perhaps this will change in the future. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 23,100 articles was a lot of work – because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off..

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