When a story enters a new community, it often goes by a different name.
A few approaches to better retitling when republishing:
- Re: Best phrase in the story. When you finish reading it, what is the phrase that sticks?
- Re: Consider the new place. How can you relate to how this community reads, writes and functions?
- Re: Have you made a shortlist of alternative titles? Have you considered 3 different options for each word?
- Re: Just Cleaner. Can any words be eliminated? Consider capitalization. Perspective. And grammar.
The truth is no one truly knows why a headline resonates or doesn’t. But we have learned a lot in publishing 50k+ stories. Everyone knows that the headline will change how a story is seen, summarized, framed and distributed. Here’s what we think matters in writing better headlines:
1. Language Specificity
How does this story fit into the internet as a whole? H1 says that to machines. To humans, we want to be direct about they are clicking into. Specificity serves readers.
2. Technological Significance
Technology is what we publish. Cover the rate of change. The TL;DR of how/what/when/why/who will naturally make a good headline.
3. And Don’t Fish
Essays taught us to write hooks. Fishing. Social media taught to avoid bait. Phishing. When we change the way people click, we want it to be for the sake of tech education (progress matters), tech information (facts matter) and tech entertainment (fun matters).