Teasers & Red Herring Titles: Boost or Bust?

The expansion of social media and Internet capabilities have increased the demand for content in every aspect of news coverage, including weddings. The Huffington Post started a branch for weddings to accommodate the niche, and fill the void in their coverage. They kept a similar layout to their main news page, but incorporated more visuals for HuffPost Weddings.

On HuffPost Weddings, an article titled “Nobody Wants Them At Weddings,” immediately caught my eye. With a featured image of flower girls next to the headline, there is no mistaking who they were speaking of, children. After following the title’s link, it brought me to a page titled “Kids At Weddings: Readers Discuss Whether Or Not Children Are Welcome.” The change made me stop and wonder if the site had redirected me to the wrong article. Not every article’s title changes from home page to the article page, but some title changes are unmistakably different.

Flower Girl taken by Sebastian Studios via Flickr

The disappointment was slight, but I was expecting a full article discussing the issue of having children attend weddings. Instead I found a very short article, a slideshow, and a video. The first title was used simply to elicit readers into a forum and discuss the issue in the comments section below; well, it worked, there are more than 200 comments on the article.

Although the extra visuals and additions to the article are nice, the title is misleading. Unlike in most blogs, the titles on news sites change from their promotion, to the actual article. The title did its job by catching my eye, but neglected to inform the reader that it was intended for a forum, not an article.

Blogs, such as WordPress, are often using a single title for their articles. The title that you click on is the same one that appears at the top of the next page. Unless a site has the ability to change the title from the blog roll, on the home page, to the actual article, the title does not change.

Consistency will keep your readers following you. If there is any confusion on what the article is, you may lose readers who will never come back because of the lack of clarity.

This instance brings up the question of including more factual components to promotional titles, or if there should be a sub-head on what the article is about.

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