Scandals, Lies and Catchy Clickbait Titles

Written by  on Mar 31, 2015

Online marketing strategies make me think of high school. I mean, all the popular kids are using "clickbait" titles, so why shouldn't I use them to make me (or my blog) more popular?

Every day, the headlines with the words "...You Won’t Believe What Happens Next" or "....The End Left Me in Tears" appear in your newsfeed over and over again, gaining thousands of clicks a day. We all know of websites like Elite Daily, Upworthy, and Buzzfeed whose irritatingly catchy headlines draw in readers by the droves. They make it seem like following the crowd might be the only way to get people to actually read your blog posts.

clickbait-titles

The Problem with Clickbait

Putting too much emphasis on "baiting" a headline often leads to misleading and mismatched titles and images. So instead of readers "sharing" or "liking" your post, you waste their time and drive them away. After all, a lie may get your readers there, but what keeps them coming back is a title that keeps it's promise through compelling content.

The Solution

Here's some good news: you don't have to write scandalously or try to fit in with the "cool" blogs on the block! To help you get the clicks you need, here's a list of Do's and Don'ts for creating a perfect title:

DON'T: Sound like a dweeb or a salesperson.
DO: Make it personal and even a little witty.

Some great advice given to bloggers is to address their reader as a single person, not a faceless crowd. And the same tactic applies to your title. Adding a little something extra to personalize your headline will hook in your readers. Use some wit and humor to create a voice for your title.

DON'T: Use the first thing that pops into your head.
DO: Spend time on writing an awesome title.

A good title can be whipped up in seconds. An enticing title takes extra time and planning. All you have to do is make a list of all your title ideas, narrow it down to the best ones, and then pick your favorite. From there, you need to keep it short and sweet. Because you need to catch readers with a quick glance, your headline needs to be composed of as few words as possible, while still maintaining interest and appealing to the emotions of viewers.

DON'T: Write a misleading or mismatched title.
DO: Instead, follow this formula to write an engaging title.

Seriously, nothing irritates your readers more than being lied to. A misleading title not only draws readers away -- it ruins your website's reputation. And writing a title just for the sake of getting clicks will leave your headline sounding generic and unappealing to readers. Here's a simple formula from an infographic by Neil Patel to make writing an enthralling headline easy and simple:

Number of Trigger Words + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

Creating an appealing blog title doesn't have to be like the childish acts of fitting in with the cool kids in high school (let's try not relive those days). In fact, all it takes is a little extra thought and simple formula to create an honest and compelling title to give your blog posts the clicks they need, nay, deserve!

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