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Is There a Right Way to Clickbait?

Clickbait can elicit strong reactions from people. On one hand, it’s a tried and true means of increasing page views and getting more readers, clicks and sales. On the other hand, clickbait gets a bad rap. Is there a legitimate way to use clickbait? Find out how to capitalize on the benefits of clickbait without letting down your audience.

using clickbait


Textbroker Marketing and Communications

What Is Clickbait?

It’s not always easy to describe clickbait, but it is always easy to spot. Clickbait is literally what it sounds like: A headline or phrase that is baiting you to click on it. At its worst, clickbait is both extreme and misleading. It might pique a person’s curiosity, but it won’t deliver what readers are expecting. That, in a nutshell, is why so many people don’t like the idea of using clickbait.

However, clickbait is not a new concept. While it is certainly having a resurgence in the digital age, leading headlines have been around for decades, if not centuries. In order to get people to buy newspapers or continue watching a news segment, an enticing phrase or a cliffhanger encourages them to pay money, stick around or keep watching.

Fortunately for business owners and website managers, there are ways to take advantage of clickbait without disappointing readers. The key is to draw on a person’s natural curiosity without promising something your content can’t deliver.

Deliver What You Promise

Many businesses think that clickbait is something that only lowbrow or desperate websites do. It’s true that some websites abuse the idea of clickbait, but you can still apply the principle of clickbait to your content to increase traffic flow. The key is doing it in the right way. After all, you want your headlines to be appealing, and you want readers to click through often. Just don’t over promise on what you can actually deliver in the headline.

For example, a shopping website might use the following headline: “10 Celebrity Outfits You Can Buy at Your Local Mall.” That’s promising, and fashion lovers will probably click through to see how they can afford to dress like their favorite celebrities. However, if the article doesn’t actually have outfits from the local mall or the outfits include overpriced items never worn by celebrities, then readers will be disappointed. While it might be tempting to increase the appeal of the headline, ensure that it matches the content in the blog post or article.

Use Numbers in Your Title

One clickbait tactic that you can employ is using numbers in the title of your article. This might sound like a small detail, but it can go a long way in encouraging people to click on the link. What sounds more appealing to you: “5 Ways to Lose Weight Fast” or “Ways to Lose Weight Fast”? If you’re like most people, the numbered title is more appealing.

Lists, while always a good idea, aren’t the only way to use numbers in a headline. You can also lead with a statistic, especially if it is a surprising one. If you are a personal trainer, you might write an article with the following headline: “90% of Gym Rats Love This Full-Body Exercise”. As long as the numbers or percentages are accurate, and you can flesh out the details in your content, then these forms of clickbait can still be incredibly valuable to readers.

Pique the Reader’s Natural Curiosity

An unmistakable part of using clickbait successfully is appealing to a reader’s curiosity. The headline should reveal something but not everything. Give away too much, and readers may skip the content altogether and move on to something new. One way to pique curiosity is with a question. One example might be “Top Marketers Swear by This Social Media Tactic: Are You Using It?” If readers aren’t sure what the social media tactic is, they might click through to learn more specifics.

Another option is to create a cliffhanger in the title. This stimulates interest in the headline and then follows through in the content. A travel agent might capitalize on this clickbait tactic with this headline: “The Number One European Travel Destination for 2018 Is…” This leads curious readers straight to the answer they are looking for.

Satisfy Readers With Valuable Content After the Click

This guide introduces you to a wide range of tactics that can make clickbait both more appealing to readers and more effective. Ultimately, however, the right way to use clickbait boils down to one thing: value. Does a teasing headline actually correlate to what you have on the page? Are readers who click on your clickbait title actually going to find value in your content? Your overall goal should be happy, informed and educated readers.

One way to confirm the value of your content is with the bounce rate. If readers click through to your website or blog post for a few seconds and then immediately leave, they may not be fully satisfied. If they stay for a few minutes, or if they navigate around your website further, then you’ve probably pleased your audience.

Clickbait isn’t inherently bad. When used appropriately, you can attract and appeal to a wider audience while still delivering excellent content. In order to use clickbait the right way, however, you need to have solid, valuable and relevant content ready and waiting for readers when they click through.

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