Sunday, July 3, 2016

In Writing Headlines, As in Testing Them, Two Heads Are Better Than One

I love that the New York Times is now doing this!

For a short while on March 15, one reader might have seen this:

$2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Trump

While another saw this:

Measuring Trump’s Media Dominance

Any guesses which won the test, and by how much?

The top one got nearly three times as many readers.

A story might be 1,000 words long, but tweaking the tiny handful of words that promoted this one on our homepage gave almost 300% more readers.

In other cases, headline tests have increased readership by an order of magnitude.

When this:

Soul-Searching in Baltimore, a Year After Freddie Gray’s Death

was paired against this:

Baltimore After Freddie Gray: The ‘Mind-Set Has Changed’

The test showed a 1,677% increase in readership for the second one.