We have no weird tricks.
We don’t even have regular tricks. You have been click-baited.
That’s no way to start off a relationship with a reader. Because of our title, we now need to regain your trust. And that’s what we wanted to talk about.
Let’s Talk About Clickbait
Clickbait titles have become an epidemic, and they need to be used responsibly. We see them online every day:
- “Shocking Truths About Banana Bread That Doctors Won’t Tell You!”
- “A Man Sneezed While Writing This Blog… and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!”
- “These 7 Weird Tricks For Clickbait Titles Will Change Your Life!”
Seeing titles like these has become the norm during our daily browsing — but why? First, let’s get on the same page about what a clickbait title is, how they are made, and why content creators use them.
Clickbait titles are headlines used to psychologically compel readers to crave the information beyond the click. They generally have some mix of exaggerations in them, like:
These superlative-stuffed titles create an expectation with readers, promising content that will dazzle or dramatically change the way they think about a topic. Other common practices are:
- “Listicles“, which promise a specific number of “signs” or “tips” that you’ll have to read, appealing to a low attention-span online reader base.
- Personalization, which is the frequent use of “You” or “I” to make readers feel like the content is directly relatable and helpful to them.
So, that’s what clickbait is… but does it work? You’re not gonna believe what we found out!*
A recent study compiled frequently shared articles (those with hundreds of thousands of shares) and studied their titles to see what they had in common. The study found that 79% of the articles had an element of shock in the title. 17% were “listicles” and 29% had “you,” “I,” or hinted to a personal story in the title. The study found the most common clickbait techniques include:
- “You” or “I” or a personal story
- An animal
- Trending/breaking news topics
- A pop culture or food reference
- A new or unknown concept
- An element of shock and excitement
The study also found it is common for highly shared content to use multiple techniques within the same headline. 46% of titles included at least 3 of the above techniques.
So, clickbait works — plain and simple. But is it right for your business?
Clickbait titles may be effective at getting clicks, but since they are usually a fake-out or let-down that betrays the reader’s trust, they are not good at turning clicks into customers. You want readers to get to your site, but then to also stay on your site and submit a lead or order.
If you publish an article with the title, “The Most Amazing, Incredible, Breath-taking Facts About Banana Bread,” and only write about how there are bananas in banana bread, people are not going to trust your business.
The title is important—it gets people’s attention—but once you have them, you need to give them a reason to stay. The content you provide should reaffirm your titles. You need to make sure that if your title is “10 Insane Facts About Rollerblades,” you provide readers 10 INSANE facts about rollerblades.
The moral of this title story is, creating an engaging, shareable, click-inducing title is good, but only when the content supports it. The good news is: we can help with that.