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5 Tips to Keep Your Headlines From Seeming Like Clickbait…

clickbait headlineWe see them every day, those annoying headlines that work too hard to draw you in… enticing you to read an article or view a promotion.   When you get to the serving website are you impressed?  Or, does the article or promotion typically disappoint you because you had higher expectations?

I’m guessing that we’ve all fallen prey at one point (or more) to clickbait.    Google defines clickbait as “internet content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.”  Usually this tactic is used to boost advertising revenue on a website.

As a marketing professional, I feel these tactics undermine a company’s brand image.  But, how can we create compelling headlines without seeming like clickbait?

Here are 5 tips to help as you create online headlines:

  1.   Know your audience.  We read this all the time, but it is ALWAYS true.  Know what your audience is needing.  Answer that need.  Let them know in your marketing headlines how you will answer their need.
  2. Avoid extreme language.  Will this really “change their life”?  Is it truly “unbelievable” or “epic”?  Will the reader really be “shocked”?  Even if you have something very special to announce, avoid language that sounds too spammy.
  3. Use your keywords.  This goes hand-in-hand with knowing your audience.  Use the keywords that are important to your website ranking and will resonate with your audience.
  4. Don’t leave the audience hanging.  The psychology behind clickbait headlines is the element of the unknown.  If you tease the audience with only small bits of information, they are drawn to click on a link to learn more.   Keep in mind that these types of ads might be blocked.  Mid-2014, Facebook announced its plans to minimize posts with clickbait headlines.  Be sure your ads or posts don’t get penalized.  Make it clear to the reader why they should click on your ad or article.
  5. Make several versions of a headline.  Track which brought quality traffic to your site and which resulted in a high bounce rate.  Keep the successful format in mind the next time you create a headline.

Just like anything else in marketing, if you are true to your brand, you will attract the right customer.  Don’t create a headline or promotion that simply attracts the masses.  You are wasting your time and theirs.