Mark Trahant

Readers notice when we’re low on content. Readership dropped from a weekend average of 20k per day, to just a few more than 10k Tuesday. (Not to worry. That’s been our average.) Still it’s nice to draw in as many readers as we can.

One way to do that, of course, is great headlines. I don’t ever want to see us write headlines that are “click bait.” Well, at least there should be a payoff for the reader so they don’t feel cheated after reading. Wired made this point: “Here’s what most people can agree on: Clickbait is annoying, but by god, it works—even when readers recognize it for what it is. The word's substantial semantic drift may be behind some of this effectiveness. But a hefty helping of behavioral science is at play, too. As a number of new studies confirm, you can blame your clickbait habit on two things: the outsized role emotion plays in your intuitive judgements and daily choices, and your lazy brain.” There are a few clickbait tools ranging from words that elicit an emotional response to numbers. (Numbers stand out when we're scrolling through an endless stream of headlines—particularly odd numbers.)

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