Visitors to this site know that I’m prone to irreverence.
That’s my approach to teaching, as well.
As a teacher, a writer and an editor, I’ve found that irreverence can keep people listening and reading.
Until today, though, I didn’t realize that irreverence could also influence the walking dead.
I’m talking about zombies.
You see, Klout, the organization that rates digital influence, says I have become influential on the topic of zombies. Or perhaps influential among zombies. I’m not sure which. My influence among zombies is apparently second only to my influence among editors. (See below.) I’m trying not to think too much about that.
I credit the power of the headline, which is the secret not only to getting people to pay attention, but also the secret to getting them to click, to read and even to buy.
Early this year, I wrote a blog post titled “Beware of zombies and 6 other headline tips for 2012.” In it, I used the headline “Survivors return to ships after death” as a cautionary example of how headlines can be misconstrued. That’s where the zombie angle came in.
Zombies and headline-writing don’t usually go together, of course, and that’s why I wrote the headline I did. Many others apparently liked it, as it was tweeted and retweeted, drawing a fair amount of traffic to this website.
It’s a good example of the importance of good headlines.
A good headline summarizes, but it also rises above the flood of information that inundates us daily. In a digital world – and especially in a mobile world – headlines have only grown in importance. They are often the only chance we have of capturing someone’s attention as a blur of information zooms past on Twitter, RSS, text, email, web.
So the next time you write a headline, give it a little extra care.
Your influence among zombies could be at stake.