The once-hot trend of clickbait started in the early 2000s with Buzzfeed, a web site that published listsicles (headlines that encourage readers to click to find out more) for the purpose of generating advertising revenue. While clickbait is still used by many of the same sites today, the idea of paying for content that is designed to drive traffic to their websites has spread among other web companies.
I was looking for a good headline to go for a recent blog post I was working on. The title I came up with was: “The 10 Types of Clickbait That Work And The 10 Exceptions.” But I started to get worried because I thought it might not be descriptive enough. So, I did what any publication editor would do and I started looking at headlines of content that had been published in the past to see if I could come up with something that was both descriptive and enticing.
It’s a pretty simple formula: a headline that grabs your attention, a link to a page you could almost certainly find on Google yourself, and a small snippet of text that tempts you to click. One of the most popular examples of this is the Clickbait headline, or the use of a “clickbait” image, where the article title contains a small, yet enticing, piece of text. Clickbait titles are the use of words like: “crazy”, “surprising”, “amazing”, “scary”, “ridiculous”, “annoying”, “anniversary”, “scam”, “secret”, “bizarre”, “hilarious”, “funny”, “stupid”, “stClickbait has gained prominence in recent years.
In an age of misinformation, people are reluctant to make sensational statements – and rightly so.
However, with the right approach, clickbait is one of the most effective ways to grab people’s attention and drive traffic to your content.
It is important that once they are on your site, you offer them more than just a catchy title.
In this article, we’ll explain why clickbait works, how to use them ethically, and why you should use them more often.
What is clickbait?
Clickbait is any content written to attract clicks. This can be any web content, whether it’s news articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, interviews, etc.
Clickbait content usually includes:
- catchy title
- a strong emotional appeal
- scannable content optimized for reading on the web
- smart copy
- content intended for distribution via social networks
While this type of content is common in online media, it goes back to the early days of print journalism. In the 19th century. In the 19th century, as newspapers struggled to maintain their circulation, they discovered that the best way to attract new visitors was to use catchy headlines to entice readers.
Here’s an example from the 1913 New York World newspaper, which was edited by the infamous Joseph Pulitzer. As you can see, each title is catchy, emotional, and meant to captivate the reader at first glance.
Fast forward to the 21st century. A century ago, and the catchy headlines of newspapers became catchy headlines of blogs.
With the advent of SEO and the desire of brands to drive traffic to their websites, clickbait headlines have gained a new prevalence.
Brands like Buzzfeed, Upworthy and Gawker have started publishing popular content in the form of lists: 27 famous actors who made you think they were Americans, 6 songs that sound romantic but aren’t, and one that isn’t but is. This content has been a huge success, due in large part to the popularity of social media and the virality of relatable content.
It’s used in almost every type of digital content today, from the 15 marketing tools you need to dominate your social strategy to the secret of my 1,866,913 monthly visitors.
Types of clicks
Clickbait content can be anything: Blogs, videos, news articles, ads and more.
The most common types are lists of articles, tips and blog posts that deal with current topics.
Here are some examples of common titles:
- The ultimate guide to _____
- X Ways to improve your _____
- A list of the best _____ in Los Angeles.
- The secret ______ that will change your life forever.
- Why we love _____ and why you will too.
- You’ll never guess what _____ did last night.
Clickbait titles can also be used on video platforms like YouTube. You can see an example below.
Why clickbait works
Clickbait often has a bad reputation online, especially due to accusations of inaccurate content.
However, there are many ways to use it ethically without misleading readers.
It works because it manages to tap into real human emotion and curiosity.
Everyone wants to know the secret to get more subscribers, just like everyone wants to know what strange things happen on a movie set.
This is called curiosity, a psychological feeling of wanting to know more.
Most clickbait headlines are designed to make the reader think they will find out something new if they click on the link.
An important ethical consideration is to provide real value in your article and not just use a misleading title to get traffic.
Clickbait is also an important part of measuring online success.
If no one clicks on your blog, you lose the opportunity to connect with thousands of potential customers.
If you want to increase your reach, you need more clicks. If you want to get more clicks, you need to develop a strategy to get them.
To achieve this, however, it is not necessary to resort to sensationalism.
Instead, think about the goals of your target audience. Our blog, for example, informs readers about digital marketing techniques. Even though we use catchy titles like 10 ingredients for writing great content or 19 strategies to help you become an influencer, we still provide actionable information in these blogs to help our readers achieve their goals.
When using a clickbait strategy, focus on your customers’ pain points and create content that will educate and delight them.
If your title matches the content, you can avoid public comments.
Clickbait strategies to avoid
While clickbait can be an effective digital marketing strategy, it can also hurt your brand if used incorrectly.
Many social media sites and search engines have rules in their policies that prohibit the use of sensational or misleading content.
Google’s guidelines prohibit ads that use clickbait tactics or sensationalized text or images to attract visitors. This may include:
- Announcements that claim to reveal secrets or other sensational information.
- Ads with phrases like “Click here for more information… Or you won’t believe what happened next. ….
- Ads that use distorted images or disaster photos.
- Ads that use before-and-after photos that show significant changes in a person’s body.
- Advertising that uses negative events such as death, disease or disaster to provoke the viewer to action.
On Facebook, click bait posts appear lower in the News Feed, and re-sharing them can result in limited access to the page.
It’s also important to avoid misleading click bait on your website, as this can damage your brand’s credibility.
Ultimately, success depends on two things:
- Write compelling, honest and engaging headlines.
- Don’t disappoint your readers when they click on it.
Tips for using clickbait in your content marketing strategy
Now that you know how to use clickbait ethically, it’s time to incorporate these strategies into your content marketing.
Here’s how to get started:
- Use the lack of curiosity, but don’t exploit it. Avoid sensational material and false statements.
- Keep all your promises. Your audience expects the information you promise them. If they constantly feel like they can’t trust what you’re saying, they won’t engage further with your brand.
- Be honest with your readers and avoid misinformation. Be a beacon of integrity. According to Edleman, 53% of consumers should trust the brands they shop with. If you are honest with your audience, you are more likely to convert them.
- Use numbers in your titles. The numbers represent concrete actions that users can take to achieve their goals. Numbered lists also improve readability and allow the reader to better assimilate the content.
- Check your information. If you use clickbait headlines, compare them to other headlines and see which ones work best. Like everything in marketing, numbers don’t lie. There’s no point investing in a tactic if it doesn’t work for your audience.
- Write to get more than clicks. The title is just the beginning. What really matters is the quality of your content as a whole. While a witty headline may draw people to your site, it’s your content that will keep them there, so don’t forget the rest.
Examples of good clickbait strategies
Now that you know what not to do, let’s look at some well-executed clickbait strategies.
When Shopify and Google joined forces to promote Shopify Premium plans, they knew the best way to get people interested was to give them something in return.
They used their media power and placed their offer in the Daily Mail, offering a free Google smart column to anyone who bought a premium subscription.
Everyone loves the word FREE!
Smartwatch brand Blocks also used clickbait titles for its Kickstarter campaign.
By using numbers, Blocks demonstrates the great value of its product, the public’s trust in the campaign and the shortage.
Users who read a headline like this will not only believe that a large community supports Blocks, but will also feel motivated to act immediately before the campaign ends.
Another good example of the use of clickbait in advertising is the financial advice blog One Smart Penny.
In their ads, they use a curiosity trick by hinting at a secret that you only find out by reading the blog. They also harness the power of celebrity with Barbara Corcoran’s spot, which brings an element of social proof to the ads.
To make a decoy head
Are you ready to write your own? Follow these steps to write a great headline that gets clicks.
1. Use Google Alerts to find out what’s relevant
Using popular trends and news is a great way to engage users.
By setting up Google Alerts for current or viral topics, you can get ahead of your competitors and be the first to share information with your audience.
Combine trending titles with relevant keywords to boost SEO.
2. Use of numbers or lists
Figures are a proven trend in blogging that increases reader engagement.
Figures in blog titles are effective because they give readers steps to follow and the content is easy to read.
Since Internet users are looking for quick and efficient information, they prefer easily accessible content.
The numbers also point to the presence of listicles, which are often the most shared types of blogs on the Internet.
3. Bringing immediate value to your reader
Providing immediate value is a great way to get clicks on your message.
They can offer physical value in the form of discounts, free products, consulting services, etc. Or you can suggest something less tangible, like a secret or a tip.
With this clickbait strategy, make sure you deliver on the promise in the message.
No one wants a misleading title, and if you lack credibility, you will lose your audience’s attention.
4. Use hook
One of the best clickbait strategies is to use a tagline in the title.
By assuming that the reader will find something in your message that they don’t already know, you play on curiosity and create instant engagement.
The tagline can range from X things you’d like to know to ….. You’ll never guess what ____ was doing in Paris.
As I said before, don’t forget to put the teaser in the main part of the message, at the end, so as not to bore your audience.
frequently asked questions
Is clickbait good or bad?
Neither. Used correctly, it’s a powerful marketing strategy. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging clicks on your post if you add value to your audience beyond the title.
What is the purpose of clickbait?
The goal is to grab the user’s attention and encourage them to click on your content.
Is the clickbait still working?
Yes, but it’s different now. Due to the widespread spread of false information on the Internet, many organizations have now implemented rules to stop the misuse of clickbait headlines. However, there are ethical and productive ways to use these tactics.
What does clickbait do to us?
It acts on our curiosity and awakens our interest in subjects or news.
Why clickbait still works Conclusion
While clickbait often gets a bad press, it is an important marketing strategy that can help drive traffic to your content or website.
When using this strategy, it is important to be ethical, not to mislead users and not to use negative content just to generate more traffic.
If you believe in your content and are convinced that your users will benefit from it, there is no reason not to create catchy headlines.
What’s your favorite kind of clickbait song?
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Clickbait so effective?
Clickbait is a term for popular headlines or subject lines that are often deliberately misleading in an attempt to generate reader interest. It’s known to have originated in the gaming industry, where it’s used for titles that tend to lure players into a false sense of accomplishment that they won’t be able to actually achieve by playing the game. There’s no denying that clickbait works. A study last year showed that articles with misleading headlines were up to 50% more likely to get shared than articles with accurate ones. In fact, a recent report from Google showed that clickbait articles get more shares than non-clickbait articles. The reason? Our brains are wired to respond to information that is unexpected—and that’s a clickbait headline.
Can Clickbait be used for good?
If there is a single secret to success in the digital marketing world, it is the power of sensational content. You’ve seen it on the web, in social media, and even in print advertisements. It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when clickbait was a term used to describe content that is purposely misleading to draw in consumers. The word clickbait has taken on a number of different meanings in recent years, but when we at Supergood Content (yes, that’s us) use it, it’s usually in reference to links that are designed to artificially induce a click. But there is more to hyperbole than hype, and there is a way to use clickbait for good.
What makes good Clickbait?
If you’re a website operator, you want people to click on your links. You want them to visit your website and spend their time reading your articles. To achieve that, you need to do something that says, “Hey, you should try this!” Clickbait uses hyperbole to get the reader’s attention, without ruining the story, in order to get them to read what follows. If you read a lot of articles on the Internet, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of them are very similar. They usually include a title, and a few paragraphs of copy. The first part is usually about a product, website, or service, and the second part contains a high-stakes claim that you should believe because it’s so good.
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