How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
Making every word count: the deep manipulation of 'news' items
You've probably noticed at the bottom of many reputable sites there are further links to places elsewhere on the web with content that you might like or which seem to be news items. Typical headings include 'You may also like', 'Elsewhere on the web' and so on. What you might not always know is that these links are not selected by the website owner -- they are, in effect, paid-for advertisements.
The language used in these links tends to be very carefully created. Typical headings include:
We can look at these and derive the rules used to set them up, including:
Even solid sites that talk about academic research make use of teasing methods, for example the Psyblog site which uses headline trailers such as:
What this site does in particular is to suggest something interesting or important for you, but not name it. In other words it states the effect without the cause. This uses the completion principle, where we have a need to complete what is started, including knowing what has been suggested. For you to control your life, you hence need to click through to the article.
The problem with such methods is that when they are over-done, they are off-putting. The authors assume the reader is not that bright and is easily manipulated. But when people feel that manipulation, they are likely to react by avoiding such headlines. If you want to attract people, be subtle or genuine.
And the big