The Five Things He Learned In Prison and How Marketers Ruined Headlines

How marketers have destroyed headlines and what you need to do to protect your content marketing.


How marketers have destroyed headlines and what you need to do to protect your content marketing.


It was advertising…disguised in the name of “content marketing”. Click bait articles that you just couldn’t resist.

It was started by journalists. Yes, I’m assigning them the preliminary blame. I can do that because I WAS a journalist for nearly a decade.

We were taught to write captivating headlines. We learned that we needed to grab eyeballs and use the attention to keep people on our content.

Marketers picked up on the lesson quickly and started using this click bait approach to grabbing internet users. Then, of course, for numbers two through 800 you needed to click “next”. And inevitably there was an ad of some kind dropped in between clicks.

It’s crushed the attention span of people…and it’s leading us down a road into an ad-free ecosystem (sort of).

Users are sick and tired of auto-play videos. We’re DONE with popups that our fat thumbs accidentally click on while trying to close the obnoxious ad. We’re OVER clicking on articles and not even being able to read them because of banners and pre-roll advertisements.

Ok, I’m done with my rant. So instead of “five things he learned in prison”, I want to leave you with three things you may want to consider changing in your content marketing.

  1. Top Secret Information

Very important tip. Don’t overpromise and under produce on your marketing. Ever. And if it was really top secret, you wouldn’t be publicizing it all over the damn internet. Unless, perhaps, your name is Hillary. 

  1. Stop Making Threats 

One of the most common click bait tactics is creating a sense of urgency or frightening readers unnecessarily. Take, for example, this headline: Deadly Spider Found In Baby Toy. The point of the article? To sell an insecticide. This “cry wolf” approach can alienate readers faster than you can say “BS”.

  1. “You Won’t Believe”

In the last decade, we’ve seen the Red Sox win like 43 World Series. Donald Trump is killing it in the polls. Bruce Jenner has tits. Yes, we’ll believe it. Every. Single. Word. And chances are, we won’t be even a little surprised.

I promise I’ll try to avoid click baiting you. But do me a favor – “follow” me on here and you might just get a special article about the five reasons why reading my content is the best business move you ever made.