Headline writing that overpromises: the super critical facts you absolutely must know or risk abject failure

Why do these type of headlines keep popping up in our email and feeds?

Because we want them to be true. And the authors know it. They know that we are suckers for the promise of the miracle cure. That mystical piece of insight or secret technique that rockets our efforts into the stratosphere. Heck, the whole diet/workout infomercial industry is fueled by our desire for a miracle pill/machine that will turn us into that ridiculously ripped version of ourselves.

We click with the anticipation that we’ve found the magical shortcut. But the secrets are never really all that secret. Oh, there may be a few good thoughts that help us fine tune an approach. But when was the last time you downloaded or clicked through and found the world-altering insight that the headline promised? It never quite lives up to the hype.

The danger of the hype

What hardly ever gets said is that there is a subtle and insidious effect to the hype. It is the erosion of your credibility.

Keep publishing the over-promising, over-blown rhetoric and your audience will start to understand what kind of resource you are. In other words, you’ll take your rightful place on the believability scale somewhere just below a used car salesman.

The thing is that your audience won’t tell you that they are assigning you to no-credibility hell. You’ll just find yourself there one day. And you’ll find it’s painfully hard to break out of that very specific box they put you into.

But can’t I get excited about my offering?

Sure you can. If you truly have something exciting to share. And remember, it’s not exciting just because you think it’s exciting. It’s exciting to your audience if it provides real value. That means something that is meaningful and timely to them, whether it’s entertaining or informative. That takes more work than cranking out an over-hyped headline. But believe me, your audience knows the difference. And they will treat you according to the route you choose.