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I Know You Guys Are Better Than This

According to Moz.com, the headline makes the message. And by the way I notice that folks on Facebook read a headline and seem to magically know something about the content of a link, there is definitely something to this. Here are a couple of takeaways from their story because few of you will actually go read their story.

-Explosion in content competing for readers’ attention: A Day in the Internet shows that 2 million blog posts, 294 billion emails, and 864 thousand hours of video are created daily. Each day also brings 400 million tweets.

-80% of readers never make it past the headline: According to some sources, on average, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest.

Now look at this chart. They say that “list” stories draw the most attention. Cracked.com has built an empire on lists. So apparently, the interwebs has come down to two dominant themes: porn and lists of stupid things. But, I know you guys are better than this aren’t you? Otherwise, I wouldn’t be the King of Tactical Media. So tell me I’m right and this is utter BS or do I have to start putting up fake formulaic headlines to drive traffic?

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24 Responses to “I Know You Guys Are Better Than This”

  1. Max says:

    After reading this post’s headling, you definitely need fake formulaic headlines to drive traffic. I mean, it was so boring I almost didn’t click on it, and I certainly didn’t bother to read your post. Now, if you’d titled it “11 Ways I Know You Guys Are Better Than This”, I might have read the post. I’m just sayin’, ya know?

  2. jrexilius says:

    Problem with studies like that is they treat all “content” sites the same. SSD and Cracked have very different content and readers. The Economist (one of my daily reads) does very well and it’s titles are sometimes catchy but very rarely are a summary and they almost never do “lists”.

    All of that being said, I feel like I’m getting old and tired, there are times when I just want a headline and a summary. Numbered, or “list” articles are easy to scan and often give me the 80% I need. There probably is something to the attention exhaustion syndrome.

    • reverend says:

      “SSD and Cracked have very different content and readers.”

      This. Reading SSD is something that keeps me informed of what’s going on with materials, tools, and techniques. It’s a daily guide to “Who’s who” in the military industrial machine as well.

      It’s definitely not for the “Porn/Stupid list” crowd.

  3. Desert Lizard says:

    Keep your site representative of what you want it to be. Don’t “dumb it down” to be like the meaningless and useless sites. This site is one that is one that I respect. I come here for actual information and learning. The other sites of lists and such are garbage. We go to those when we’re tired or lazy and don’t want to use our brain. Stay true to yourself. Keep this site going as is – it’s one you can be proud of.

  4. Smitty says:

    . . . I can give you 17 reasons why you should use the formulaic headlines . . .

  5. Evan says:

    Eric, here is how you increase your readership in 5 easy steps…

  6. cowboy975 says:

    first of all i believe google bought the rights to interweb and it is now the intergoogler. second of all you have extensive content when needed – army camo selection debacle, individual carbine, etc. – highlights when not. third of all, if 8 of 10 people read only headlines it is just another stat that proves any normal population can fit into a bell curve and that 8 of 10 people are idiots.

  7. Stone06 says:

    I feel like there should be an simple 12 question poll that will help me answer your question.

  8. Mark says:

    I think you answered it for yourself. We want more porn and more lists. Or more lists and more porn. You pick. Just be sure to sprinkle it with industry updates.

  9. Jack says:

    Honestly, I read SSD and Cracked almost daily (among a few others). If I miss a day I’ll go back and catch up. Cracked is a great way to kill some time while dropping a deuce and I find it entertaining. I thoroughly enjoy SSD and will usually hit it a few times a day to see the latest updates. Guys that care abou this stuff aren’t going to care how the headline is written. With that said, we’re all visual animals so pictures are always great. If it turns into porn, I just can’t check it at work.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

  10. matt says:

    I’m not ashamed to say that Cracked.com is a daily read for me. It’s interesting. I think I go to websites and read the content that I find interesting, while a lot of people don’t know what the hell they’re looking for and are just browsing around. You want dedicated readers and subscribers, not just passers by right? As long as you keep posting interesting and fun stuff I’ll keep subscribing.

  11. MClark says:

    I believe these stats. But yes, we’re the exceptions!

  12. Frederik says:

    I don’t think you have to fear this.

    I imagine that most of your readers are either in the industry or in the forces. Both to whom you are highly relevant.

    Also the content you create is of fairly high quality and the blog post are kept to a minimum in length, meaning that your post appear ‘manageable’ and people know that you won’t steal their time with unnecessary rubbish.

  13. jeffb says:

    How a headline is present can/does help to capture ones attention. In fact yahoo uses misleading headlines all the time. It’s about making the story look grander than it really is.

    Most sights with stories, blogs…. etc, all use catchy headlines.

    I don’t come here for catchy stories though, I come here to check out new gear that I probably didn’t know about. Sometimes I read the stories and other times I just look at all the pretty pictures.

  14. reverend says:

    The only changes I would require to make SSD even better?

    More girls in bikini’s with guns reading lists… there ya’ go.

    • Bradkaf308 says:

      That’s Hot Shots and 2014 is coming. Everyother post is Hot Shots and no title is necessary?

  15. Bluenoser says:

    Lists draw idiots who can’t digest complexity or further critical thought. Keep up the good work.

  16. Andrew says:

    TLDR

  17. J H Booth says:

    I read SSD daily and enjoy the content. It is very informative and usually well written. Please keep up the good work.

  18. JohnC says:

    Obviously, you’ve learned nothing; otherwise, the post would have been in poll-form, i.e.:

    o I agree. You’re right: this is utter BS! Otherwise, you wouldn’t be the King of Tactical Media.
    o No, we are not better than this. Start putting up fake, formulaic headlines to drive my traffic!
    o Whatever gets me MORE. HOT. SHOTS. NOW.
    o When’s the army camo pattern being released?

    How else am I supposed to compare my opinions with the prevailing internet sentiment?