Monday, July 28, 2008

Your Title Was Boring - And I'm Busy

Most blog readers these days are perusing their RSS readers, quickly glancing through their subscriptions for something worthy of their precious time. It is helpful if your post title is engaging. If you're in advertising particularly, and you're blogging about advertising, why not practice your craft in your blog? Try to create headlines that grab your readers. Think of the RSS reader as a very crowded field where you are competing for attention - because it is and you are. If you're writing, "Jaguar's New Commercial," you've lost me right away. If you write, "Jag's New Spot Sucks Balls," or "Jag Smacks Me in The Face with Awesome Ad," I might venture further.

One blog that never fails to grab my attention through titles alone is Public School Intelligentsia, formerly known as "Hey Be Us." Here's a random sampling of recent PSI post titles:

  • If regret had a face, it would be that tribal sun tattoo wrapped around a belly button.
  • Lessons In Congeniality: “I don’t want to kill everyone…Just my enemies.”- Micheal Corleone
  • Elements of Good Advertising: Simple. Pink. Sticky.
  • On Nailing People’s Asses To The Wall: The 5 Staffers McCain Should Fire
  • Take That, You Button-Nosed Shiksas! First Ever Jewish Girls Swimsuit Calendar
Sort of intriguing.

And here's another note on RSS readers that might help your blog: Give your readers the whole post in your feed. Don't shorten it as some tease that I'm supposed to chase to improve your blog stats. If your post is interesting enough, people will click the "show original item" link and comment on your blog. Cases in point: I subscribe to a couple of political blogs. One is "The Caucus" at The New York Times. the other is "The Daily Dish" at The Atlantic. "Caucus" gives me a one line tease that I very rarely click on. "Dish" gives me the whole post, and I appreciate that. "Caucus" may end up off my subscription list very soon.

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  • I can't do RSS. I know all the reasons for them, it's just that they kind of remind me of the big pile of New Yorker magazines I used to have that I swore I'd get to "someday."

    Easier to grab a look at blogs when I have a minute or two to do so.

    By Blogger Alan Wolk, at July 28, 2008 at 8:04 PM  

  • I suck at titling posts. Oh well. :p

    By Blogger Thinking In Vain, at July 28, 2008 at 8:26 PM  

  • That's why I don't use RSS. I never have, actually. I enjoy going to the blogs I like and reading them, kind of like picking up an actual newspaper and sitting down with it for a while. (Yes, I'm talking about you, JP.)

    The other problem with RSS is that a lot of folks are very clever, which doesn't make for good RSS titles. I once titled a post: "James Dobson sucked my cock! There - I said it!" Not that it's particularly clever, but you have almost no idea what the post is about, other than I think James Dobson is an ass of the highest order. And don't get me started on the bloggers who fall back on The Who lyrics... (Same as the old boss? OMG, what does he mean???)

    That said, your point stands. Have you thought of sending this post to the many Nigerians who are constantly exhorting us to send them money with subjects like "Dear Sir" or "Respond!!" or "Second Notice"?

    By Anonymous Ripley, at July 29, 2008 at 4:10 AM  

  • The thing I like about the 2007 version of MS Outlook is that it has a built in RSS reader, which means I can keep up with all my favorite blogs while I'm at work, and to anyone walking by, I'm just reading my email.

    By the way, thanks for reminding me to actually click through to the article once in a while though...that is the big disadvantage of reading everything on RSS.

    By Blogger Brice, at July 29, 2008 at 10:13 AM  

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