Are You Guilty of Using the Copy/Paste Headline?


Hi everybody, headline goes here please

(Photo credit: reinvented)

I’m not the best when it comes to writing headlines.  In fact, I think I really suck at it. Out of over 30 posts on The Daily Hottentots, I’ve only found three that really capture my attention.  I know that’s better than a big fat zero, but still, that’s less than 10 percent.  Not good.  And I am working to improve that.

Even though I am not pleased with the headlines on my blog posts, I can at least say they are original thoughts.  I’m not going to name names here (frankly, I don’t remember names), but there are a few people floating around the blogosphere who use what I like to refer to as the copy/paste headline.

What is the copy/paste headline?  Take this for example:  here on WordPress there is a weekly photo challenge, and when people decide they want to take part, they join  a thousand other blog posts with the headline “Weekly Photo Challenge: Cars of My Dreams” or some crap like that.  And what’s worse, when a reader gets frustrated and decides to just click on one of the thousands of posts with the same damn headline, the post consists of just a photograph.   There’s no description, no quote.   There’s nothing but the photograph…and many times people who click on the post have no idea how the photograph and the copy/paste headline are related.

Want another example?  Well, too bad, I’m going to give you one.  And I am going to use another WordPress challenge in this example.  Last year WordPress hosted the Post a Day Challenge.  Each day the Daily Post would give participating bloggers a new prompt.  Can you guess what happened when some bloggers decided to use the prompt?  If you guessed that a thousand blogs with the headline “What Topping I Like On My Pizza and Why” popped up all over WordPress, you’re right.  And if you dared to click on the post to read it you would see:

I like pepperoni on my pizza.  Pepperoni tastes good and is fun to eat.  The kids like pepperoni.  My dog likes pepperoni, too.  The whole family is a fan of pepperoni pizza. And that is why I like to use pepperoni on top of my pizza.  The End.

Do either of the above examples describe what you do on your blog?  If they do, PLEASE STOP.  Lord knows I am probably coming off like a know-it-all here, but I don’t really care.  The copy/paste headline and lack of originality is a pet peeve of mine.  It’s unacceptable to me.

If you are a beginner in blogging or creative writing, please start using prompts the right way.  Use them to come up with an original headline and original content.  Your readers will love you for it!

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11 Comments

  1. Moreover- make it about something interesting…. Watching paint dry AIN’T it!

    Reply
    • SO true, Roy.

      Personal blogs/journals, for instance, aren’t interesting to people outside your family and circle of friends. If people want to reach out to people OTHER than granny, they might want to consider the type of audience they want to reach. Write for them, not yourself.

      Reply
  2. While I’ve never come across this myself, I can certainly understand why it’d be a turnoff! Thanks for the chuckle!

    Reply
  3. Daniela

     /  July 25, 2012

    Hi Angie,
    Ok, now it is official – I love your blog! The issue above and the tone you employ resonate with me. And by the way – I describe myself as Libertarian Socialist too -:)!

    Cheers!
    Daniela

    Reply
  4. allisonrapp

     /  July 25, 2012

    Even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I don’t want to read about yours. Not on your blog, and not even on Facebook. BTW, thanks for posting the photos — that makes it much easier to realize I want to ignore your post.

    Reply
    • The people on Facebook are really bad for posting photos of their meals. I did it ONE TIME, on St. Patrick’s Day, to show an Italian restaurant’s version of corned beef and cabbage…and to warn people that they should not go there if they want food that is edible lol.

      Reply
  5. allisonrapp

     /  July 25, 2012

    Okay, that’s allowable. My daughter did it on her birthday — brunch in Istanbul and I found it cool — a lot because I had to ask what the things were on the plate — olives were the only thing I could recognize.
    Okay, also because she’s my daughter and lives 8,000 miles away. When it’s completely new, it’s interesting, but for pete’s sake… just because you don’t cook anything doesn’t mean everything you eat is fascinating.

    Reply
    • Haha! Indeed! My posts about food would be the same thing each day these days. “Here is the tofu scramble I had for breakfast. Here’s the miso soup I had for lunch. I had some brown rice and miso soup for dinner…” zzzzzzzzzzz Jesus, I’m already starting to bore myself lol.

      Reply
  6. Oh, Angie. You made me laugh. My husband is sitting next to me wondering what I keep laughing about. First, it is little boys dancing around in sprinklers in their underwear and now you lashing out at cut and paste shortcutting headliners. It’s beautiful. Thanks for being fun.

    Reply

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