NOTE: This post is for a class assignment
We’ve all seen click bait! Clever use of words and specific turns of phrase that propel someone to slide their cursor over to that hyperlink. They just gotta see what this is all about!
Most of the time the hyperbole works. Most of the time the hyperbole disappoints! My mind isn’t blown. I am not shocked! I am left thinking to myself, “was that it?” But I clicked. As we learned in class, words work.
In the short amount of screen real estate online headings are allotted, a little bit of craft (and trickery) is used to get the viewer to click.
We were given an assignment to re-work for online -physical copies of The News Journal’s front page Living section showing an enormous vintage photo of Frank Sinatra carving a turkey. The below-photo headline in giant font read TURKEY MY WAY.
The gist of the article is how to take charge at Thanksgiving. There were tips on what size to buy and how to prepare the overall meal for (and what is assumed to be a stressful) family reunion. Toward the end of the article, a short account of a Thanksgiving holiday Sinatra spent alone at a favorite Italian restaurant, along with samples of Paul Anka’s lyrics for My Way, appeared in order to tie Sinatra to the article. Sinatra was the hook, but the article really has little to do about Old Blue Eyes.
The News Journal’s online version found on their web site Delaware Online used a different headline: Take A cue from Sinatra – plan Thanksgiving your way. Note to self: The print presentation of this article is way different than the straightforward online presentation.
So if I worked for Buzz Feed, Huffington Post (who did some dastardly baiting about chickens), or even The Weather Channel (who has sadly discovered click bait and uses it with regular frequency on Facebook) and I was tasked to promote on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, what teaser headline might I use for this same story? So here are some ideas!
Don’t be a turkey tyrant!
Stop Thanksgiving Turkey Tyranny!
Be a CEO of your Thanksgiving Board Meeting!
But what if I was required to use the Sinatra photo in the lead?
I turned to some other Sinatra song titles to see what I might find! Thanks to Wikipedia, they were listed alphabetically and I found some good ideas straight away! Like most click bait titles, you don’t always get what’s promised in the headline in the article. Sinatra song titles in italics. There are so many, I could have written the article using nothing but song titles! Here are a few Sinatra song lead ins:
Accidents will happen! Don’t let your #Thanksgiving meal become a slug fest!
Baby won’t you please come home? When there’s 30 lb bird in the oven and no one shows up!
Call me irresponsible. Turkey Trickery!Pass off a pre-cooked #Thanksgiving meal as your own! (with list of places to get pies, pre-cooked full turkeys)
Don’t ever be afraid to go home! Enjoy your Turkey Day and Aunt Sally too!
Fly me to the moon! You wish, but they’re arriving! Tips for creating a stress-free family #Thanksgiving meal
High Hopes! How to have a great #turkey and no drama at the family #Thanksgiving table
Oh! Look at me now! Preparing your first #Thanksgiving meal? No worries! Read how!
One for my baby (and one for the road)! Cook enough #turkey for the meal and leftovers too!
Something Stupid. This guy didn’t let Something Stupid mess up his #Thanksgiving holiday
Try a little tenderness! No Trauma! No Drama! Have a tender #turkey and family visit too! #Thanksgiving
The trick with online headlines is to capture that seven-seconds of human attention span. Exaggeration is par for the course. The full-title of the actual article (see my post on what Huffington Post did to chickens) is rarely used. Online content craves engagement. You have to see it first before you can like it, retweet it, share it or give it a thumbs up, heart or star. If they miss you at the news stand, they’re sure to grab you online! You’ve just got to read this! You won’t believe what this guy did! It will blow your mind! Honest!