Poynter Online has a great post about the importance of having a good headline in your RSS feed.
‘But what do I do with headlines like “Dramatic change” (which turned out to be about a change in the government’s attitude toward immigrants) or “An unfinished story” (this deals with the U.S. inauguration). And these are just a couple of random picks from a Norwegian feed I read last night. Both those headlines belong in a newspaper or on a website, where there is room for a picture and a blurb. They have no place in my RSS reader. Or in my mobile phone’s WAP reader. Because I can’t even make up my mind if I’m interested.
With RSS and WAP, more and more journalism relies on headlines alone. So they better be good. And they better be informative.’
This is so true. I’ve actually done some tracking of the most popular posts on this site for those reading my RSS feeds and have noticed that it is usually the simple, clear and informatively titled posts that get the most hits. Yes occasionally I’ll get a little clever, humorous and cryptic and come up with a title that tries to be intriguing, witty or mysterious – but more often than not the simple ones do much better.
Of course I show the first few sentences in my RSS feeds also (not that everyone chooses to view them) so your opening line is also vitally important to getting people to read on.
I’ve touched on this topic previously in a number of posts includeing: