Tips for writing headlines and articles that people may read in an RSS news reader

Google has posted some Tips for Publishers that include suggestions for writing newsreader-friendly articles (posts) and headlines. It includes some thoughtful ideas that work in all newsreaders, not just Google’s.

My general advice: Remember, people who use newsreaders can choose to display the headlines only. In other words, the article/post you write is not always displayed with the headline. That’s a tough concept to grasp for bloggers who only view their posts on their blogs, and never on a newsreader. The headline must stand alone and sometimes serves primarily as a “link” to your article or post. In other words, if your post headline says only, “I agree with this guy”, I doubt I’ll click through to it. Also, I rarely click through to a link within a post that says, “I don’t know about you, but I think what this guy says is awesome.” As funny as he is, I don’t read Dave Barry’s blog for this reason. The click-through punch line doesn’t fit with my scan-by reading technique. (Fortunately, someone who does read Dave’s blog knows when I must see something there and pings me — that’s the ultimate personalization technique.)

(via: Robert Scoble)