Whilst responding to comments on my site, earlier today, I came across this very interesting one regarding my article: ‘The Use of Content in an Effective Presentation’:
and it got me thinking, so I checked out Yahoo’s news headlines, and every one does indeed show exactly that, with a certain ‘shock factor’, using words such as civil war, heart breaking and revenge:
It is worth noting here that I’m not picking on Yahoo alone, as most platforms do this these days.
This is a news, advertising and internet trend of writing titles that grab attention, thus virtually forcing a reader to open your post, in an attempt to gain more views by any means possible. Advertisers have long since known that emotions grab attention and make people remember your brand, or as recmedia.com puts it:
‘Emotional marketing basically uses emotion to make you pay attention to a brand or message by making you feel empathy, happiness, fear, or anger. Emotional marketing helps people remember your brand, but it does much more than that: it can help your consumers feel more loyal, share more, and buy more.’
Have you ever opened a YouTube video because of its dramatic title, only to find that you had been tricked and that it was actually about something completely different? Me too, and it doesn’t impress me, in fact it only makes me angry at being so emotionally abused, used and taken advantage of, even for wasting my time, which can never be gotten back.
Besides all of that … when everyone is doing it and every title is dramatic, does it still have the same effect on our overloaded emotions or do we start to ignore it as we become ‘immune’ to the very emotions they are trying to stir up?
If I’d subscribe to / used this method in determining the title of my article, ‘The Use of Content in an Effective Presentation’ I could either have said:
FEAR: ‘If you don’t do this in your next presentation you will get fired!’
or GREED / AMBITION: ‘Your boss will promote you if you present like this.’
It would probably have grabbed attention and ensured that more people read it. That would have ensured that the search engine algorithms would have placed the article higher up, so that more people would have found it but is that correct, or even ethical? I think search engines should have two filters for recommending content and the reader can choose which one they’d prefer: Sensational or Factual.
Also known as, ‘Sensationalism’…though vital to story telling, it is not used in Business English and it is not used in serious business situations amongst business people, even though those same businesses may use that very tactic when advertising to their clients.
In day-to-day operations businesses seek efficiency and the fastest possible way of conveying a message. It is expected that every business communication will be read because they will only send out something that is relevant and important, so there is no need for sensationalism to try to force people to read something. The most sensationalism they will use in their clear title is to add ‘Urgent‘ at the beginning, to ensure that it is read sooner.
Business English is vanilla, as it should always be based on emotionless facts / thinking with your head and not your heart. This is because emotions can be manipulated, whereas the use of pure facts ensures a ‘true north’ practical, usable solution and way forward.
I know, one could argue that though that may be the case in the day-to-day operations of a business, my articles ‘need’ as many readers as possible and that is of course true. However, rightly or wrongly I plan to stick to Business English in all things, including my titles wherever possible because it is honest.
… Or do you think I’m wrong?
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