Clickbait has become a dirty word in the blogging world. And accept it: if you’re a blogger, you must have experimented with clickbait titles. And maybe they did work. The stories with clickbait titles probably got more traffic than stories without. So why do you need to stop clickbaiting if it really works and how do you write compelling titles without resorting to clickbait? What’s really wrong with clickbait?
The simple answer is over-exaggeration and less value in the actual content than promised. Clickbait titles over exaggerate using words that compel people to click. They also hold back information to build curiosity so that people can’t resist clicking. But once they click, they often get directed to a page with useless and worthless content. Often times, there is nothing but just a collection of other links. That is precisely the reason why clickbait has earned a bad reputation.
But why should you stop writing clickbait titles? There are many reasons for that. Let’s look over them:
Social Media Hates Clickbait
One thing is pretty clear. Social media sites are trying hard to keep their visitors on their site. The giants like Facebook and Twitter earn by making money through advertising. And if they constantly send their traffic to outbound links, particularly to pages that don’t provide any value to people, it will only hurt their own business. That’s mainly the reason why social media hates clickbait and are using new methods that help them fight it. Oh, that’s a real problem for you too because you obviously want your content to get viral on social media…
Your Audience Is Becoming Savvier
Another reason is because the people you’re targeting to are becoming smarter and savvier. They have had bad experiences with clickbait and now they know this technique pretty well. They simply aren’t willing to put up with content that they find irrelevant and misleading. If they find something clickbaity, they would simply click on other competitors’ sites. Problem, uh?
That’s why it makes sense to stop clickbaiting and write compelling titles. But how do you do it without resorting to clickbait? Here is how:
1. Write benefits-driven headlines
Your readers want to know why they should click on a headline. They want to know exactly what they will gain from investing their time in reading the content you posted. What’s wrong with clickbait? It doesn’t tell them this vital information: the benefits. Readers might click because of the curiosity built up by the clickbait title but they’ll probably find the content misleading. So instead of clickbaiting, be clear about what they’ll gain.
A study used A/B testing to measure the conversion rate of links with clickbait titles and links with benefits-driven titles. It found that benefits-driven titles got 28% more conversion than clickbait titles.
2. Make sure your headlines align with your readers’ interests
We all get inspired by the creative and cutesy headlines created by Upworthy. But what’s important is to understand the interests and goals of our readers. For example, if you have a marketing blog, something simple, clear and specific would perform better than the kind of headlines Upworthy creates. Keep in mind that readers are most likely to resonate with the headlines that convey the value of clicking.
3. Harness the power of NUMBERS!
The marketing manager of Contently, Jessica Black, noted that 31% of the top ten performing headlines on their website included a number. Another study by Conductor found that including a number in your headlines makes it 36% more likely to be clicked.
When we promise a benefit and tell the reader what they will gain plus also tell them how many benefits they will gain exactly with a number, it creates curiosity and a state of disequilibrium in the brain. Hence, people click to achieve equilibrium and satisfaction.
4. Use keywords instead of clickbaity words’
A clickbait title can get some temporary traffic on social media. But the traffic will eventually die. What continues forever is the organic traffic from search engines. And to get success from search engines, make sure you include relevant and high performing keywords.
Using keywords means you’ll have to stop clickbaiting as including keywords in a clickbait title is next to impossible. Instead use your keyword research and SEO knowledge to write headlines that not only make people want to click but also help you rank better in search engines.
In short, just don’t tell us that We Won’t Believe What We’re About To Read. Because chances are, we’ll believe it. Instead, make us want to read your article because of the benefits we’ll gain. If you deliver what you promise, we’ll click and maybe even convert.