Sign Up for Our Newsletter!

What Do George Clooney, Michael Jackson, and Kim Kardashian All Have In Common?

George Clooney, Michael Jackson, and Kim Kardashian

They’re all my lame attempts to have people find this blog post.

I once wrote a blog post headline containing the name Tim Tebow. I wasn’t trying to use Tim Tebow’s name as link bait. I was just doing a commentary on some other post I was linking to about Tim Tebow. Some sort of web service out there came across my post and starting piping in referrals from all over the place. The closest I’ve ever gone to having one of my posts go viral. And it clearly happened because I used the name Tim Tebow in my headline. I should probably start using Tim Tebow’s name in any and all my blog posts whether or not Tim Tebow is even relevant to the story. Tim Tebow would want it that way. That’s because it seems …

Being Provocative with Headlines is One Way to Get Noticed on the Busy Web

Stock markets don’t rise and fall. They crash and soar. There is the weirdest, the smartest, the craziest, the most ridiculous, the 10 most, the 12 oddest, the 20 most ludicrous … everything is hyperbole! I’m serious. I’ve said this a million billion times. Everything on the web is over-the-top, unbridled hype. Er … ahem … you know what I mean.

I could give you the intricacies of sensational headline writing, but just spend a few minutes on Buzzfeed and you’ll get the hang of it.

Especially if it involves celebrities. How often do you see headlines like this:

Cate Blanchett Slams Matthew McConaughey At The SAG Awards

This is a real headline and, if you link to that article, what you’ll find really happened is that Blanchett’s snide remarks are really directed at the SAG organization, at the expense of McConaughey – because she was given less time for an acceptance speech than he was. But “snide” just doesn’t sell like “slam,” does it?

Fact is, seems like everyone’s slamming someone (or something) else these days. I’m surprised I haven’t witnessed a public slamming of someone trying to sneak more than 10 items through the grocery store express lane yet.





That’s a lot of slamming going on. But getting back to hammering Cate, if it had been reported that her remark was merely snide, it would have taken on more of a tone like this:

Cate Blanchett Upset When Acceptance Speech Cut Short At The SAG Awards

Yawn. Hardly as spell-binding as ole Cate body slamming Matthew McConaughey now is it? Plus, you miss out on the keyword goodness of throwing McConaughey’s name into the mix again. Take THAT search engine optimization! In fact, let me work them into a subhead for even more SEO goodness. Right Tim Tebow?

Cate Blanchett Allegedly Punches Out Matthew McConaughey at The SAG Awards

Now, before anyone starts lawyering up, note that I covered myself with the word “allegedly” in my subhead, while at the same getting my stars named used yet again. (Damn, I’m good.) Whether or not Cate actually punched Matthew is immaterial. It only matters that I speculated as they do on all the 24-hour news channels these days in order to cram Cate’s and Matthew’s names into my copy one more time. A publicity stunt many other bold-faced stars in attendance like Bradley Cooper, Bryan Cranston, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus know all too well. Those last three stars were added gratuitously off course, as they count as three more celebrity names, and who’s still reading this article anyway.

Back to the original point of the story. I’d consider the main headline of this post I’ve written intriguing. That’s what you’re after. What DO George Clooney, Michael Jackson, and Kim Kardashian have in common? Without saying a word I’ve already accomplished my mission of attracting more blog traffic by dropping these popular names. But with a headline that’s completely irrelevant to this blog. This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to get eyeballs, and once Clooney, MJ, and Ms. Kardashian fans come flocking, they’ll be disappointed to find that this is nothing more than a collection of incoherent ramblings designed to attract attention with a pay-off that has little, if anything, to do with the headline. In short, a cautionary tale of how NOT to write blog headlines if you want your blog to be taken seriously. Unless of course you run a vacuous celebrity-zine site, in which case have at it.

In summary, have we learned anything here today? Does it really matter? Google will just change their search algorithm again leaving us all in a lurch. Just ask Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, … and, of course … Tim Tebow!

About The Author

John Parrish
John Parrish is Vice President, Creative Services for Marketing In Color and has worked on brands such as Outback Steakhouse, Madico Window Films, Pitney Bowes, Progressive Auto Insurance, Edwards (United Technologies), Kash n’ Karry Food Stores, Home Shopping Network, The Villages of Florida, CareCredit, Dollar Rent A Car, Super Kmart, and dozens more.
See all posts by