No matter how much it makes us cringe, click bait works. It uses our emotions to gauge a reaction. Whether that headline makes you curious or furious, it’s still doing its job. Everyone has that undeniable each to click and get that answer.
Despite its effectiveness, clickbait has the reputation of being misleading content that encourages misinformation. But is there a way to make clickbait content be good, ethical content? Let’s discuss.
What exactly is clickbait?
Clickbait is pretty self explanatory at first glance. Strictly speaking, it’s just content written to get more clicks from your audience. Here’s what clickbait usually looks like:
- A catchy, compelling headline that draws you in
- Some sort of strong appeal to your emotions
- Scannable content optimized for web reading – no bulky paragraphs please!
- Witty copy that keeps you interested
- Social media friendly – they want you to share it with everyone you know!
On the surface, it might seem that there’s really nothing wrong with clickbait. As marketers, our job is to reel in as many people as possible to your product. Using catchy headlines and compelling, digestible content seems almost like a given. So why then, do people hate clickbait? Let’s talk about where this thought process goes wrong.
How NOT to use clickbait
The downside of clickbait, and the source of its bad reputation, comes in if the content doesn’t back up the claims. Sure, you may be driving thousands of potential customers to your page with an exciting headline. But by being dishonest, you might lose all those potential customers, and risk irreparable damage to your brand.
People don’t like dishonesty. Every day, we’re ingesting an endless stream of content right at our fingertips. If you draw someone’s interest, only to under-deliver on your promise, chances are they won’t trust your brand in the future. They might even go out of their way to avoid your products (I know I do).
Additionally, a lot of people only really read the headlines. If you’re exaggerating facts or using a misleading statement, you risk spreading misinformation. It might get your brand more attention, but not the kind you want for the sake of your reputation.
Using clickbait in your marketing
That being said, there are plenty of ways to use clickbait in a manner that’s both ethical and helpful to your brand. You want to offer real value to any potential customers, not empty promises to simply get more website traffic. Make sure your content delivers on the headline. You can still write good content, while giving it a title that makes people want to click on it. For example, people LOVE numbered lists. It breaks your page up into easily digestible content, and it taps into your readers’ curiosity. Some examples might include 8 things NOT to pack for a cruise or 3 Ingredients for the perfect cost per click.
Essentially, you can write compelling, engaging headlines that draw in clicks while still being honest about your content. The last thing you want to do is disappoint your readers, so be honest, avoid misleading content, and deliver on each and every promise you make to your audience!
Struggling to stand out among the marketing noise? Byte Size Digital can give you all the tools and resources you need to run, grow, and scale your company. Visit our website or schedule a call with us to learn more about using the best marketing strategies for your small business.