Headline best practices

Tips for writing effective headlines that eliminate clickbait and improve distribution.

Clickbait-free headlines are important to ensure your stories receive their full potential for distribution. When crafting a headline, we encourage you to consider why people may care about the content you're creating. It can highlight what may be odd or unique, reveal important details, or tease an element of your story. 

A headline may be considered clickbait if it falls into the below categories: 

  • Is written in listicle format. For example, “5 Small Habits That Could Help You to Make More Money” 
  • Utilizes exaggeration with words like “best” “need” or “must-see” like “Hitting Rock Bottom Is The Best Thing That Can Happen To You” 
  • Withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is. For example, the headline “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…” withholds information required to understand the article like the name of the person who tripped
  • Oversells something like “The Foolproof Way to Get a Mentor”
  • Denotes anything else that is deceptive or misleading. For example, “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” misleads the reader because apples are only bad for you if you eat too many every day.

A feature within our creator portal can now help identify when a headline for a non-local story may be marked as clickbait so that you can make timely revisions. Within the “Manage Content” tab of your portal, you will see an article flagged with “Edits Recommended” if it needs attention. This means you should go in and revise your headline per these guidelines. Once updated, the article will no longer be limited in distribution.