Why 1 Million People Like You Shared This Column About Publishing

The information in this column about publishing is only available for a limited time. Soon you will not be able to share insights from this column with others, so hurry and read, post, and even print out this column.

Are you one of the 87 percent of people who read this headline and posted this article on Facebook, shared it on Twitter, or liked it on LinkedIn within one hour of reading it? Despite all of the innovations in publishing, from technology to new distribution channels, the good old headline is still possibly the most powerful element of an article that we have. After all, it is the headline that will pull you into a story and engage you.

In today’s mobile-first world, some people have become very clever at leveraging the art of the headline in ways that support and promote. Interestingly, the use of the headline today is as much about pulling you into current content as it is about leading you deeper into the content of your destination.

Email experts have turned the from name of an email into the headline, as some mobile email clients do not display the friendly from or subject line. For example, the Oprah Winfrey Network uses a from email address of thisweekonown@ instead of the standard news@. The subject line plays a secondary role to make you even more excited about what you are about to read, regardless of the device you use to access it.

SEO aficionados have long used the headline to help lure people into their website and drive intelligent and impactful explorations. Take this article from Woman’s Day, for example. This article capitalizes on the very popular search term that women use of “lose 10 pounds fast.” This powerful use of the headline to pull you into its content is then supported by a number of ways to move through the website and into other sections of information, including recommendations for other articles and similar topics in case they may have not satisfied your need. When viewed on a mobile device, this page shares much less content, but the related stories still keep you navigating effectively.

Kings and queens of video have been able to enjoy the mastery of the headline inside YouTube and other video distribution engines as well. This video, viewed by 65 million people on YouTube, is from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”:

If you haven’t watched this yet, you should. This way you will be able to see how the headline pulls you in, and the intelligently formatted content keeps you engaged. They take advantage of the closing card to post a second headline suggesting that you watch another, related video.

Magazine designers have always relied on the magazine title (aka the headline) to entice you to read. Road signs are only headlines directing us where to go next. This column has a headline that suggests you are missing something if you haven’t read this yet (so thank you for reading all of the way through!).

Take a look at your headline and how it looks on both PC and mobile devices. Ensure your content is structured in a way that guides someone (via a recommendation) into your site in an intelligent manner. And enjoy the fun you can have exploring new ways to leverage this old effective trick of catching the eye of 65 million people or more.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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