BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith Thursday explained the media company’s philosophy behind writing good headlines. Luring the reader in with clickbait doesn’t work because “you can trick someone to click, but you can’t trick someone to share,” Smith wrote.
Rather, BuzzFeed’s writers try to “blow away the curiosity gap,” to create a headline that describes promising content and delivers on that promise:
If your goal — as is ours at BuzzFeed — is to deliver the reader something so new, funny, revelatory, or delightful that they feel compelled to share it, you have to do work that delivers on the headline’s promise, and more. This is a very high bar.
The worst thing news organizations looking to get social lift from their content can do is put their audiences off with cheap headlines that deceive them about what they’re about to read, Smith writes.
My colleague Kristen Hare has written that good headlines aren’t confined to the buzzy lists of digital media startups. Read more