A bit of mis-management on my part resulted in this interesting "experiment": take the exact same article, submit it to two different (but demographically similar) sources, with different headlines.
Now, I'm not going to win any awards for understanding the importance of some good link bait, but I'll also never look at a "title" form field the same again...
Hacking Mac applications
Source: Hacker News (my favoured non-slashdot tech site)
Votes: 5 up votes
Page views: 17 unique page views.
Result: Sinks immediately into oblivion.
Ok, that was a dismal failure. But I put a good few hours in writing that thing up, so I thought I'd try again. The problem, I realised, was the drab title. Time to spice it up a bit.
Fine alcohol, and reverse engineering Mac applications
Source: Reddit (my favoured lurking tech site)
Votes: 137 votes
Page views: 3,075 unique page views.
Result: Goes to the front page.
Then to prove the point, just a few days later on Hacker News is this article...
I Can Crack Your App With Just A Shell (And How To Stop Me)
Source: Hacker News
Votes: 200 up votes
Result: Straight to the front page.
Identical content, much better title (Not that the author was copying my content: if fact, he was actually copying his own content from 4 years earlier - I think he just realised it was relevant again and re-released it!).
Conclusion: I really have to start hating marketing less.