Friday, November 24, 2017

This Will Shock You

According to research by two Norwegian business professors, "self-referencing" headlines—those with you in them—drive more clicks.

Specifically, the professors discovered the highest-performing of these four headlines was the last:
  • For sale: iPhone
  • Anyone need a new iPhone?
  • Do we agree iPhone is the best phone available?
  • Is this your new iPhone?
Maybe you are not shocked. Of course you matters! 

As every marketer knows, along with new, nowfree and save, you is one of the Top 5 "power words." You addresses the reader, assuring he'll read the ad

As the late Herschell Gordon Lewis says in The Art of Writing Copy, “Unless the reader regards himself as the target of your message, benefit can’t exist." You guarantees this.

And then there's this.

This will shock you (the title of this post) is a click-bait headline that introduces a subject without introducing it.

Good writing forbids the use of this as a subject: its use is considered sloppy, because this is an ambiguous "empty suitcase."

But good copywriting isn't always good writing.

This as a subject intrigues readers enough to click, in order to get the whole story. It exploits their curiosity, relying on a rhetorical trick researchers call "forward referencing."

This will shock you creates suspense readers can only relieve by... clicking.
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