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| 1 minute read

Why do post titles that are questions outperform?

Claire wrote today

about the facets of the most successful posts on the network. One of her findings was that a disproportionate number of successful post titles were formed as a question. 

I thought I'd do a little dig into why that's be the case. Ady Dewey in the post below argues quite sensibly that by framing a question the author sets their stall as to what you'll get in return for reading the post - your question answered. 

However, there seems to be a number of journalists that argue posing yes / no questions is sloppy; this is a quote from Andrew Marr in his 2004 book My Trade:

"A headline with a question mark at the end means, in the vast majority of cases, that the story is tendentious or over-sold. It is often a scare story, or an attempt to elevate some run-of-the-mill piece of reporting into a national controversy and, preferably, a national panic. To a busy journalist hunting for real information a question mark means 'don't bother reading this bit".

Indeed there is a "Law" about this. Betteridge's law of headlinesis one name for an adage that states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."

So it would seem there is a trade-off between piquing a potential reader's interest and being taken seriously. 

(Does that answer the question?)

Your question tells your audience exactly what will be covered, much like how a frequently asked question (FAQ) is formatted. It may draw readers who have that question in mind.


content marketing, b2b marketing