Clickbait headlines are used widely in blogging, content marketing and by news services, but it doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd of the massive information available on the Internet.
I have read quite a few online articles on how to create the right headline for a post. To catch the reader, most articles recommend that headlines should start with something like this:
How to …
7 great reasons for …
Get more …
Why you should …
The secret of …
Don’t make the mistake of …
This type of headlines is called clickbait and studies show that clickbait headlines incite the reader to click on the post to read more. E.g. check out this article from the American Marketing Association who have used the same technic for the article headline.
As a newbie blogger, I have tried to work with the headlines of my posts using the above formula. From using and also from reading a lot of online articles I have to admit, that I find clickbait headlines monotonous, dull, and superficial.
But do they work? Sure, they do. The attract immediately my eyes like magnets. I have learned this again and again. No matter how trivial they are, the effect is incontestable.
Lots of articles on the internet is about how to find your own voice as a writer and create unique content. There is, however, nothing unique about headlines that are similar every time, and which in no way differs from the millions of other articles that web is teeming with.
The AMA article argues that there is a difference between clickbait, which makes a promise that is not kept, and a great headline. I am not so sure about that.
My postulation is that if you want to separate yourself from the homogeneous mass of mesh material on the internet, it is not enough to write original content. You also have to create a unique title.
Will you get the same amount of traffic to your website? Probably not, and you most likely will get less traffic to begin with. Will your post be a viral hit? Definitely not, but your blog will appear far more personal and in my opinion far more interesting. Actually, I think there comes a time when readers will demand a good, serious headline to want to read an article. In the long term, it might even mean that you will get a bigger crowd of followers.
Does this mean that I right away will strip my blog for marketing hogwash? Nope, not at first because I already have planned a number of posts where I expect to use eye-catching bait headlines. I am not too proud to use a sales trick like this since it works.
However, I do promise you that you will occasionally find articles where I have looked into creating titles that are better than those in the beginning of this article. In time, I might even turn over to my own personal creations. Writing should be fun.
What kind of headlines have the articles you have read? What kind of headlines would you like to see? If you are a writer, what kind of headlines do you use? If you have comments to this article feel free to leave a reply below.