Apologies. Nothing to see here, folks, move along. Sorry if you reached this post looking for something else.
Seriously, headlines matter a great deal in RSS feeds (and product feeds too, but that's a different post).
This morning's post on Ubuntu and Vista unexpectedly pulled in twice our typical rate of blog visits.
Clearly that's because more folks care about Vista and Linux than care about the typical topics we blog on here: paid search, online marketing trends, direct marketing, etc. And note the headline ("Tale of Two Operating Systems: Vista and Ubuntu") was rich in high-traffic keywords. I didn't write that post to pump up visitor counts, nor was I seeking link bait. I was honestly sharing my amazement that a four year old computer running Ubuntu was as zippy and usable and full functioned as a brand new Vista box.
But the FeedBurner traffic graph got me thinking, so I figured I'd do an experiment with this post...
I went to Google News and pulled the top headline under the "Entertainment", ""Sci/Tech", and U.S." tabs.
Here's the lead story for each:
- Angelina Jolie adopts another
Melbourne Herald Sun - 11 hours ago
"All she needs to do now is to travel to Hanoi to get the travel paperwork from the US Embassy for the boy," said Nguyen Van Trung, director of the Tam Binh orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Viacom v. YouTube
Opinion Journal, NJ - 21 hours ago
To hear Viacom tell its tale of financial woe, the media company has been caused horrific damage by Google's YouTube video subsidiary.
- GOP Support for Gonzales Erodes Further
San Francisco Chronicle - 1 hour ago
By LAURIE KELLMAN, AP Writer. Republican support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales eroded further Thursday amid an intensifying furor over his role in federal prosecutor firings, as new e-mails surfaced indicating that top White House political...
So I took these three hot topics and mashed them into a (meaningless) headline: Alberto Gonzales' Secret: Viacom, Angelina Jolie, and YouTube.
Ok, so this post is the experiment: I want to see what traffic comes in due to the headline. Clearly the visitors will be unqualified, sure. But I am curious to see what a headline mashed up from this evening's hottest stories might do.
I'll share counts in 48 hours.
Now, this is a bogus headline on a bogus topic. But getting the headline right for real content matters a great deal. There are have some interesting posts on writing strong blog headlines recently. Check out Andy Hagans’ Ultimate Guide to Linkbaiting and Social Media Marketing, and Brian Clark's series on How To Write Magnetic Headlines. Solid advice.