What Makes an Effective Online News Headline?
MSN.com is set as my home page. Not because I like using the built in Bing search, but because I love the way the site displays the latest news. While the home page is very busy, it is laid out in a way to my eye has become accustomed and I can quickly find what I want.
Being a big golf fan, I recently was drawn into several headlines about Tiger Woods potentially being fined by the PGA because of his criticism of a PGA official enforcing a strict time rule during his win over Padraig Harrington at the Bridgestone Invitational. These were very well written, enticing headlines. But when I clicked the headline, time and time again I became disappointed with the content. It was almost as if they were lying…well not lying, but more like stretching the truth. I also noticed within one of the articles several comments going back and forth from people feeling the same way. Disappointed searchers were definitely critisizing whomever could be held responsible for writing such headlines. Headlines such as, “Me? Fined? Tiger blasts erroneous report” would lead you to expect Tiger saying more than just “There was no fine. That was just an erroneous report.” It became ridiculous how misleading a series of headlines about this incident became. And NOTHING ended up happening to Tiger.
So the question I have is – Do the same people that write the articles also write the headlines? If so, shouldn’t it be their job to deliver relevant, accurate content for both. Or if different people are writing the headlines – is it their job to ONLY worry about getting the clicks? What do you think makes an effective online news headline? Do you get frustrated when the content behind the headline does not deliver?