5 Reasons I Don’t Read Articles With Numbers in the Title

The way we consume information has changed, and in my opinion, often for the better. I was never much of a newspaper guy, and we got Newsweek for many years until they refused to stop running tobacco ads. I was an early adopter in getting my news on the computer, and today spend a great deal of my day looking at online news.

The producers of this online news know they have a second or two to grab our attention as we scan the page, and if they don’t grab it, someone else will, and will therefore score a “hit” that they should have had. Hits, as I understand it, translate to advertiser dollars, which is how these folks make their money. So, how to use that second or two to grab your attention? Many are putting a number in their title:

5 Ways to Lose 10 Lbs
The 15 Best Ravioli Recipes in Eastern St. Paul
How to Tune Your Nuclear Reactor in 8 Easy Steps
30 Ways to a More Confident You

I’ve been especially interested in the way the writers choose the number they put in the title. A low number can mean a quick read, which is enticing if you feel rushed or tired. A bigger number can mean this article has some depth to it, meaning the effort to read it all might just bear some elusive fruit.

My Google News Feed seems to have several of these “clever” titles every day, and I do have to admit I read some of them (although the title I chose for this article suggests I don’t, but I got you to read this far, didn’t I?) Some are quite good, but most, in my opinion, are the same quality as the magazines that scream at you while you’re trying to check out at the grocery store. So here is a word to the wise for the people marketing their writing with clever titles… you will likely lose the 1/1,000 or a cent you would have otherwise made on me if you put a number in the title. And here are 4 reasons why…

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