Have you ever found yourself going from reading an online Caesar salad recipe to an article on most unattractive celebrities’ body parts? Chances are, you’ve clicked on click-bait.
Click-baiting is the toe-curlingly obvious headline promise of something “mind-blowin” or “shocking”. Basically, you can’t help but bite, read, click.
Here are some examples:
“He changed his name for a horrible reason. Now he is telling us Why.”
“A schoolgirl has been forced to do that. It is so scarring, be prepared to know.”
Now to get to the bottom of these manipulatively enticing stories, you’ll most likely have to click through a gazillion pages, each with their own titbit part of the story revealed. And you probably won’t find the ending you’re looking for. These “real life” heartbreaking stories are generally not that heartbreaking. The man probably changed his name because his original name was not that pleasant-sounding or something like that, and the schoolgirl probably didn’t tell her parents about failing exams, which is definitely not a good thing, but not that surprising after all.
When you’re building a blog, you’re building a following of eager, engaged customers who are connecting with your brand. They need to trust you, which will not happen with over-dramatic clickbait headlines that don’t deliver. “But you also need to get them clicking and engaged in the first place”- is probably your reaction. Absolutely fair. So, how do you strike the balance?
Let’s dive into this question to see the possible solutions!
Clever Copy vs Clickbait
Great content is everything, but a whole other thing is to get your content ranked and read…which is where you have to nail the title.
Think of your title as the salesperson for your blog post content. And if your salesperson is boring, your customers won’t be buying what you’re selling. If it’s not interesting, they won’t click on it. Simple as it is. You can write click-worthy titles without resorting to clickbait. Clickbaiting is psychologically compelling because our brains crave to find out what happens next. But the problem with this is that you have to deliver what you promise. Whatever title your blog post uses it has to satisfy that suspense, not leave the reader deflated. You can create the same brain craving but you can actually deliver on your promise by talking about real benefits to your post.
Look at this example:
Clever copy: “10 Proven Ways to Boost your blog traffic”
Clickbait: “You won’t believe how this man boosted his online business”
The clever copy is still enticing, but still has the edge of curiosity to make readers want to find out more. The reader is asking “what are these proven ways?” and will find out the answer.
The clickbait copy is obviously enticing, but the readers would believe how the man boosted his business growth. And they will be unimpressed because they’re expecting something unbelievable.
Truth is your Holy Grail. You want people to trust in your brand and believe what you’re telling them, or things are going to speed downhill pretty quickly. Clickbait copy will rip this trust away as soon as readers see the melodramatic headline, as the more it pervades our lives, the more people are getting wise to it. Remember that most consumers are skeptical of the content they view online, so writing a headline that shows the value of your content will prove you as a trustworthy source.
How to Clever Copy
When you’re writing a clickbait headline it’s unlikely that you’ll be fitting in a solid keyword that’s going to help out your SEO mission. Your best bet is to optimize your headlines with keywords using tools like ‘Google Trends’ and ‘Keyword Planner’. You could end up getting quality traffic from searches alone, with readers who are already engaged with the topic that you are going to deliver answers on. The reason is, people are searching for a solution. Clickbait titles are so far away from the solution that it’s a dot to them.
2. Strong, but not too strong
While clickbait-y titles will promise your mind will be blown, by now you know it probably won’t be. The trick here is to use language with just the right amount of strength so they still create curiosity but don’t overdo it on the hyperbole. Here are some clever copy examples:
Online business: 7 tips to make start earning now
Strong words and word groups: tips, make earnings.
You can see that the titles are engaging and achieve the brain craving that we talked about earlier. But, they’re not over-promising and certainly not over-dramatic.
Compare with click-bait title:
I started my own blog and THIS INCREDIBLE thing happened.
The word “incredible” is a red flag for another portion of unbelievable information, which will definitely make reader believe in something the article would never be able to provide with. As a result, the reader will never come back to your site.
Remember, the people behind laptops and mobiles are exactly the same as you: the story of the boy, who cried “wolf” applies fully here, no one will return to your website after the first “false” call. Be salesperson, but not a tale-teller, stay persuasive, but truthful, and eventually, this will translate into tangible financial value, so it’s a path well worth following.