25 cringe- or shrug-worth headlines
Ian Lurie Apr 6 2011
I tell you to write clear headlines, and you don’t listen. I tell you to try the blank sheet of paper test, and you ignore me. I suggest that you write fully descriptive headlines, and you snort. Well, now you can see what happens. 25 truly screwed up, hideous headlines written by folks who didn’t consider the consequences:
- Royals to get a taste of Angels’ Colon. Ewwwwwwwwwww.
- Colon pounded. They just couldn’t get enough of this one.
- Supreme Court Tries Sodomy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but do we all need to know?
- Deer kill 17,000. Wow. I know they’re justified being a little ticked, but man.
- Stud tires out. I’m a 42 year old nerd. I feel no sympathy.
- Air Head Fired. About damned time.
- Eye drops off of shelf. …
- War dims hope for peace. I’m sorry, what? Which war? Peace where? Your lame headline dims hope for peace.
- UN to remove Taliban from blacklist: Karzai. Er what? We made peace with the Taliban?
- Come on in, the water is fine. Nothing funny, but this headline is so utterly uninformative I found it intrinsically giggle-inducing.
- Tits bouncing back in warmer weather. The bird. Not the… Never mind. They’re actually called ‘Blue Tits’. Which might not help… Now I’m just embarrassed.
- Get it free!! This was an e-mail subject line. Nothing else to tell me what’s going on. Nice.
- A new business model. And…?
- Hard wait. Buh…?
- Bishops agree sex abuse rules. I wish this was funny.
- Microsoft User Research is looking for Seattle area parents with kids. Can you narrow that down just a little?
- Why it failed. Maybe ‘it’ needed more focus?
- April 6, 2011. The next time I see someone using a date as a headline I’ll… I’ll… probably just cry.
- SEO services SEO. This one just pisses me off. It got onto Hacker News? Really?
- Photo. This is more a case of not writing a headline at all, I suspect. I find 10-20 of these every week.
- No good to great. Dammit. That was my other business plan.
- Fired up! That’s great! About what?
- What does it all mean? I dunno.
- Cameron attacks ‘annoying’ Balls. Is it just me, or do most vague headlines end up being double entendres. Use the guy’s first name next time, K?
- Man Fatally Slain. OK, this one is actually fully descriptive. It’s too fully descriptive.
You have been warned.
If you’ve got any other dreadful headlines, feel free to post ‘em in the comments.
- Conversation Marketing: A definition
- Fast pages convert 2 times better
- 10 tips for writing that sells
- The agency employees’ guide to bosses
- A marketing agency boss’s guide to employees
- 15 report writing tips
- Elizabeth Marsten’s new 2-part PPC e-book for small business. $37 for books 1 and 2, and a money back guarantee.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More