We’ve analyzed 223 thousand crypto news headlines to understand how to better pitch news to the media - here’s what we found
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In the past few years crypto headlines have become longer, while their prevailing sentiment has become very different. Why did this happen? How to leverage these trends in order to pitch news stories to the media?
The BDC Consulting team analyzed 223,000 news headlines to understand how crypto media sentiment changed in the 7 years between 2013 and 2019, how information was presented and which words were used most frequently. We identified three trends – and we'll look at each of them in this article.
Trend no. 1: positivity
News stories published before and in 2017 featured extreme mood swings: from joyful excitement to despair. In those years, the crypto industry was just emerging and the rapidly rising price of Bitcoin gave rise to a lot of illusions, symbolized by the iconic phrase 'to the moon'.
Whenever the price fell, the crypto community reacted with fear, anger, and even disgust.
In time, the amount of available information about crypto grew, while illusions started to dissipate. At present, the prevailing mood is that of positivity and trust. The top 3 emotions reflected in the headlines are positive:
There is a decreasing number of headlines that feature a strong emotion, such as joy, anger, etc. Story titles present facts without evaluating them.
Trend no.2: mentioning brands
For the past 7 years, Bitcoin has remained not only the largest cryptocurrency, but also the most frequently mentioned. Out of the 223,000 headlines we reviewed, 80 thousand contained the word Bitcoin. Positions from 2 to 4 haven't changed in the past few years, either: they are crypto, blockchain, and price.
It's worth pointing out that mentioning a large brand in the headline (Bitcoin definitely being a brand) helps increase the number of views. According to our recent study, back in 2018 you could triple the number of views just by including the word Bitcoin. The effect is weaker now, but an inclusion of a popular brand name can still produce up to 30% more views.
By the way, this trick is successfully used by Crage Wright, who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Even though Wright has so far failed to provide any proof, his name is constantly mentioned together with Bitcoin, generating constant interest in his person.
Our study also revealed the most frequent word pairings. Such words are connected by thicker lines in the diagram. The most popular pairs are bitcoin + price, bitcoin + cash and bitcoin + technique.
Trend no.3: information density
Interestingly, average headline length keeps growing with each passing year. Compared to 2013, it has increased by 23%, from 57 characters to 70. Maximum length has grown by 51% - from 133 characters to 201.
When the article's content is completely clear from the title, those visitors who are interested in the subject are more likely to open it. And that means a higher probability that they will read the piece to the end.
Why is this important? Because search engines penalize websites with a high bounce rate. This way Google fights clickbait, or intentionally deceptive headlines.
A logical sequence emerges. A headline that clearly describes the content ⇒ visitors consciously select content that is interesting to them ⇒ bounce rate decreases ⇒ website's rank improves.
Moreover, informative headlines help attract readers among the constantly growing number of news. There were 28% more stories published in 2019 than in 2018: 90,141 vs 70,561, respectively.
What does a quality headline look like?
Informative: avoid clickbait and generalized or unclear statements;
Unbiased: relate facts without giving in to joy or anger. Readers don't want you to impose your opinion about the event on them;
Contains a popular term or brand name – of course, when it's relevant. If the content doesn't allow you to mention a brand in an organic way, don't include it artificially. Your readers won't forgive a lie.
You can leverage these trends when pitching your stories to the media. Journalists receive dozens of articles every day and look at headlines to identify the most interesting ones. However, these recommendations do not give you any guarantee that your story will be published. Many other things matter, including the text's quality, your ability to establish contact with journalists, etc. However, a good headline is the first step in the funnel – and it will help your article get noticed.