Do you get the bulk of your news through your social media feed? Have your WhatsApp Groups replaced the local newspaper? Do you trust Twitter to tell you the truth? And most importantly, have you ever liked and shared a news story from the headline alone, without even clicking on the underlying story?
You are certainly not alone in this. In fact, you have millions and millions intrigued by the clickbait headlines but largely uninterested in the underlying content.
Like it or not, the way people consume news and engage with journalism has changed markedly in recent years, including right here in Nigeria. And whether you are dismayed by the changes or embrace them fully, it is important to recognize this altered landscape.
So what can you do to take control in such a climate, where headlines are king and content takes a back seat?
Knowing that headlines are the most important part of a news story means you can lean into that with your own news strategy. Ensure your headlines are positive and attention grabbing. We hate to say the word “clickbait,” but it works for a reason.
Think about it this way — would the headline make you stop and share or immediately peak your interest? Then that’s the headline you want to use.
Things to keep in mind: the first impression most people have of a politician, a business, a celebrity or a public figure is likely to come through social media and daily news. You can use this to your advantage — but so can others. If certain headlines are inaccurate or deliberately misleading, those false impressions can spread like wildfire, and that can have huge implications for the real people involved.
Also remember that the current media business model rewards strong emotions over journalistic integrity, even if the emotions themselves are negative. In fact, things like rage, scandal, big names and money can actually increase the value of a news story, and headline writers create their content accordingly.
If you find yourself fighting negative news or struggling to take control of your message, reach out. Massive’s enormous editorial prowess covers some 90% of the traditional and online publications in Nigeria and Ghana. You may not think you have power when you scroll through your news feed, but you have more influence than you think.