Why Are We Sick of Sensationalist Headlines?

It’s hardly a rare occurrence on our social media pages nowadays: the sensationalist headline that speaks to us in second person, telling us what we will feel, exclaiming the unbelievable nature of the content that you must click on right now. Have you ever thought for a second why these headlines quickly become an annoyance rather than an enticing click or share? It’s the way they’re structured. Nearly every sensationalist headline is formulated the same way: a direct call to action using pronouns that address the reader directly, add in a few adjectives and adverbs in all caps and presto! Instant headline. In fact, it’s so simply structured that you can even create a random generator with all the sentence structure parameters programmed into it! Oh right, that already exists! Check out Upworthy Generator, a site that creates those oh-so-familiar headlines you see floating down your Facebook wall.

The point is that people crave original content. When something so formulaic gets rehashed over and over again, they subconsciously pick up on the patterns, it gets stale rather quickly. So what should you do instead of supplying a vague statement and a call to action? Be upfront and honest with your content. Say what the content is and why you found it useful. Don’t be afraid to share a link again a few weeks later if you feel you didn’t get enough clicks or views; the process of creating worthless clickbait content as a one-off page to be forgotten is not and should not be a viable business model for anyone. Quality counts.

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