How to write clickbait-free headlines
Content is design, and our content is full of clickbait, these days. Sadly, there are many sites that are still using this technique to draw traffic to their pages. That should bother you. At the very least least, the recent decision by Facebook to update their algorithm such that it can filter out the sensational content should be a wake-up call. This was not their first backlash at such content. A 2014 update of their algorithm had the same purpose.
WHAT’S THE FUSS ABOUT CLICKBAIT, ANYWAY?
There are various concerns aroused by this kind of internet marketing trick. Basically, the reader is looking for value any time they visit a website. Understanding this, major search engines and internet platforms are looking for ways to improve the quality of content they avail to users. This is why they are continuously improving the search algorithms or news feeds to make sure they respond with search results that suit the reader best.
Why doesn’t clickbait meet this criteria?
A CLICKBAIT HEADLINE IS MANIPULATIVE
By merely reading a title, you cannot decide it is clickbait outright.
This kind of content thrives on manipulating the psychology of the reader. This is by using titles that give readers very little information (if any) about the content of the post just to spark their curiosity.
For instance, a YouTube video title reading: “This blind, autistic boy enters the stage- what happens next shocks everyone.” Of course, everyone wants to empathize with the physically challenged in the society. So, that portion alone plays with the emotions of the reader.
However, the title goes further to suggest, “What happens next shocks everyone.” Many will definitely want to click. It makes you curious to find out what the boy did to shock the audience.
Other examples of clickbait titles include;
- You Won’t Believe How This Company Changed the Game
- 7 signs you’re not as ethical as you think
- 4 signs you are a terrible communicator
By merely reading a title, you cannot decide it is clickbait outright. This is because some catchy titles are actually followed by some meaningful content. This brings us to other factors that point out clickbait from a valuable title.
CLICKBAIT IS LIKELY TO EXAGGERATE
When you read the title in the example given above, your mind is already expecting something shocking. Unfortunately, not a lot of content lives up to that excitement. Perhaps, for example, what the boy in the example above does isn’t shocking to a person who has lived with an autistic person before.
Basically, most of the clickbait is prone to messages that are misleading. They will cause you to expect something, but the content doesn’t live up to your expectations. You will end up being disappointed.
THEY ARE SENSATIONAL BUT LACK VALUE
It will drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately, your success is likely to be short-lived.
Most clickbait headlines are created to attract attention. The way they are pushed on to the reader is also uncalled for. Ever noticed those links that pop up when browsing some websites almost every minute? You can hardly navigate the pages without being annoyed by them. Unfortunately, the suggested topics are totally unrelated to what you are looking for.
Also, they can be vague, just like, “You Won’t Believe How This Company Changed the Game.” The title doesn’t give you an idea of what information the post contains. In this case, you are pushed to imagine the value you might gain once you click it.
In an internet environment where search engines want to improve the user-experience, such content can be detrimental to your website. Also, people take note of such websites or titles very fast. They are likely to avoid them in future.
They will gain you visitors, but not buyers
In other words, this point is partly agreeing with the presumption that clickbait works. It will drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately, your success is likely to be short-lived. The visitors may not stick long enough for you to turn them into buyers. Why? This is because the content doesn’t match their expectations. Soon they will realize the hype behind your work is empty. Such content makes you appear suspicious or unreliable. Who wants to stick around or buy from such a seller?