It’s ironic that today’s issue of Kathy Gill’s Seattle Women Daily leads off with a story about importance of great headline writing. That story (a blog post by Nick O’Neill) explains how a New York Times’ article with a run-of-the-mill headline was ignored while the Forbes summary of the same story garnered 680,000 page views. The difference, notes O’Neill, was that the Forbes headline writer “cut out the crap and got to the real shocker of the story.” (You’ll have to read O’Neill’s post to see how that was done.)
The irony was that the same issue of Seattle Women Daily also has a story I wrote, reporting on another site’s reporting of a subscribers-only Nature article about a breakthrough discovery of the mechanism by which exercise may increase longevity. What distinguished my summary from the pack, and won it a place leading the Health section, was not the headline I wrote, but the photo I used — of a lab mouse who appears to be doing yoga.
I’m a firm believer in the value of photos for enhancing the readability and linkability of a blog post. Illustrations have become increasingly important as people find blog content less through search engines or news readers and more through image-friendly links on Facebook or online periodicals like Seattle Women Daily.
This low-res mouse photo, from iStock, was more expensive than the usual photos I buy to illustrate my blog posts — $6 instead of $2. But, oh, so totally worth it!