How we work: Choosing the right headline

In this series of articles we explain to you how works and why we do things the way we do them. The second editorial is about headlines for our articles.

Headlines should tell you the most important news straight away. ESC Daily follows the guidelines of professional journalism; we believe that just from scrolling over our homepage, readers should have a good overview of the most important news of the day.

Sometimes a headline is phrased way too general. For instance: “Malta: Participants chosen” is not specific enough – participants get chosen every year. We try to avoid this as much as possible.

But what is the most important news?

When there is a big name or a former ESC-participant in a national final, that might be worth mentioning. After all, everybody checks out the lists of each preselection for some familiar names. “Malta: Ira Losco enters two songs” is therefore a better alternative. It provides the reader – you! – with more information straight away.

No tricks
A headline should not be too general. But even more important: we do not want to trick our readers into clicking on an article, that they do not want to read. At any time, we try to avoid what is called “clickbait”.

Therefore, our headlines should not fool the reader by exaggeration. An article like this one cannot be titled “Scandal in Switzerland”, as the reality is nothing more than a small change in the line-up. Instead, we choose for a factual description: “Kaceo replace Stephanie Palazzo”.

Our headlines should answer your questions, instead of raising new ones. Imagine if the article about Malta (previously mentioned) would have been titled “Former Eurovision runner-up returns in Malta”. Readers would have to click the link to find out who it is.

We never do this at ESC Daily; a headline can be exciting and draw attention, but we take our readers seriously. Just like we would like to be taken seriously ourselves when we are visiting other websites. If a headline gives you the most important information, you can decide for yourself whether you want to read more details in the article or not.

Between listicles and “clickbait”, it is hard to get to real news nowadays. The sad thing is that online publishers merely provide what the market wants. Clickbait makes a promise and some writers do not live up to the responsibility. Lazy writing has caused a mistrust of one tool of the online journalist, but there are plenty of others. Therefore, we promise you to match our content to the headline, and vice versa.

If you doubt our choices, or if you have any questions about this article or our headlines/content in general, feel free to contact us through our contact form or on Facebook!