Clickbait Headlines Are Dead (So Here's What You Should Do Instead)Click To Tweet
Level-Up Your Titles With These Catchy Headline ResourcesIf you're reading this, you clearly care about writing powerful headlines. Don't leave empty handed — take this catchy headline resource bundle with you and apply what you learn in this post to every headline you write.
What is a Clickbait Headline?
- “You won’t believe what happened after…”
- “This will make you…”
- “This will shock you...”
- “OMG, I couldn’t believe she just did that!”
- “Leading expert reveals the biggest secret…”
- “Find out what happened after…”
- “STORYTIME (not clickbait)”
Why Clickbait Has Slowed DownLow-effort, clickbait posts may have been all the rage in the early 2010s, but you probably noticed seeing fewer and fewer out there in recent days. There are a handful of reasons why.
1. Desensitization of Consumers
2. Unsatisfactory ExperiencesYou likely remember the feeling of being cheated whenever you see a clickbait title, so you no longer click. Wading through 26 pages of slow-loading ads only to arrive at a boring ending is not worth the time. According to a new COVID-19 era statistic, people spend 7 hours a day consuming online content. Still, there is a massive difference between wasting time with something you enjoy or getting caught in a clickbait trap. It’s clear that people are dissatisfied. Just observe the number of memes, hashtags, and social accounts created in protest of the clickbait phenomenon. This is bad news for monetized content sites. Why? It’s rare to win a user back beyond an unhappy Evaluation Phase in their customer lifecycle.
3. Clickbait is Seen as Less TrustworthyClickbait articles are inherently not objective. They revolve around dramatic stories and only cash in on the shock value. This is evident after visiting just one or two sites. Every day, more and more users realize that these sources lack legitimacy and trustworthiness; however, it’s a slow process. It’s a practice that poses an ongoing threat to real journalism. When a source has more ads than meaningful content, it’s no wonder they are flagged as spam. They are also badly written and often peppered with typos. If you feel like you’ve lost a couple of IQ-points after reading one of them, you’re not alone (statement not fact-checked).
4. Growth of In-Feed ConsumptionThe main content distribution channels, such as Facebook and Google, were largely affected by the clickbait epidemic from the start — especially before their first crackdown on fake news in 2016, they were breeding grounds for in-feed sharing and clickbait material consumption. Google recently updated their Misrepresentation policy to introduce a clause about clickbait ads. With the launch, the following will not be allowed: “Ads that use clickbait tactics or sensationalist text or imagery to drive traffic” and “ads that use negative life events such as death, accidents, illness, arrests or bankruptcy to induce fear, guilt or other strong negative emotions to pressure the viewer to take immediate action.” Facebook has set up very similar rules in their Business Help Center. They consider ad attributes — such as withheld information, sensationalized language, engagement bait, and other low-quality post-click experiences — as low-quality.
How Can Marketers Evolve?If you are a marketer guilty of using clickbait techniques in the past, don’t feel bad. As long as you’re ready to employ a high-quality content marketing plan, you’ll be able to keep up with the market.
As long as you’re ready to employ a high-quality content marketing plan, you’ll be able to keep up with the market.Click To Tweet
1. Rely on AuthenticityAuthenticity is conscious brand building in disguise. Establishing yourself or your company as an authentic source can include a number of things.
2. Build Up Emotion-Bait TacticsYou can create grabby titles without being spammy. Use emotion-bait tactics, such as traditional storytelling; tell them the story of how you started your company from scratch, share a case study or a customer story, or share user-generated content. Your followers will take notice and start engaging with your posts.
3. Leverage Different Strategies on Different PlatformsYou don’t need to be present on all platforms. Maintain as many channels as you can realistically commit to with quality content. Develop a different strategy on each platform to make the most of it. Here are the most popular ones and how you can leverage them.
- Blog — Your own blog gives you the biggest room for creativity. You can fully flesh out your storytelling tactics here. However, the post headlines will still need to adhere to SEO best practices. You can post full interviews or informative pieces on your blog. I have also seen interactive quizzes as a successful engagement tool.
- Facebook — Share your blog posts or other original content on Facebook. Watch out for any of the potential trigger words that make the algorithm slow down your post distribution.
- Twitter — Twitter’s latest effort to battle low-quality, unfactual content is to label them accordingly. Your tweets may be labeled as “misleading information”, “disputed claims”, or “unverified claims”. Stick to facts and other engaging content, and you’ll be golden.
- Instagram and Pinterest — Both of these platforms are highly visual so creating and editing pristine photos is a must. Still, you can play around with the typeface and engaging copy for each post.
- Medium — Medium is all about sharing high-quality content. If you want to get into Medium’s distribution system, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. More specifically, they say this about clickbait: “A tasteful, narrow ‘curiosity gap’ in the headline is okay, as long as the reader has a good idea of what they’re clicking on and the story delivers on its premise.”
4. Use Actionable HeadlinesThere are a lot of different ways to craft an actionable headline, but here are four easy ways to craft actionable headlines that make the biggest impact on your readers.
Add a VerbStrategically placing a verb into your headline can directly prompt the reader to take action. Example: “5 Ways to Change Your Bad Habits into Good Ones”
Add Power WordsCreate a sense of urgency with words, like “now”, “last-minute”, “new”, or “free”; although, you should use the last one sparingly. Example: “How to Start Your Own Business — our new ebook is now available!”
Make It About the ReaderUsing “you” in your copy can help the reader feel like they are personally being addressed. Example: “15 Ideas to Help You Stop Procrastinating”
Add a Call-To-ActionIn some headlines, such as social posts, you may have the room to add a call-to-action. The key here is to keep them very short to prompt urgency. Example: “25% off our executive suites. Book now!” Still want to improve your headline further? Try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Studio. It evaluates each title based on word balance, sentiment, skimmability, and more.
5. Partner With Trusted Influencers and Reach Out to the Media
6. Include High-Quality SourcesEach industry has its thought-leaders with thousands to millions of followers. These can be both individuals or companies. Often, business owners are worried about linking out to these sources, thinking that they are “sending away” traffic. This is not the case if you have a genuinely engaging, high-quality presence. Quite the opposite is true: citing other reliable websites will make readers trust your copy by proxy. It’s also an encouraged SEO tactic. Other reputable sources you can link out to:
- Credible news sources
- Educational websites
- Peer-reviewed studies
Wrapping UpClickbait headlines are not dead… yet. They’re dying out as more and more people refuse to interact with them and social platforms take a stand against these practices.
Clickbait headlines are dying out as more and more people refuse to interact with them and social platforms take a stand against these practices.Click To Tweet
- Monitoring your own content for trigger-words
- Creating high-value content
- Only publishing well-researched sources
- Establishing a trustworthy, reliable brand
- Connecting with your readers on a personal level
- Leveraging social media
- Doing regular outreach to influencers