The internet has grown significantly from a military-based project in the 1970s to college and computer junkie significance in the 1980s.
Then, in a 1999 interview, sitting Vice President Al Gore said, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”
While asserting that he had championed an idea written about as far back as 1962, Gore fell victim to a manipulative media that twisted his comments to infer that he had “invented” the internet.
Instead, what he did invent, albeit accidentally, was clickbait!
In the context of digital marketing, the use of clickbait headlines was always a reality — sometimes for good, sometimes just to lure unadvised people.
In this blog post, we will cover important topics related to that and present some clickbait examples that work as blog post titles.
What Exactly are Clickbait Headlines?
Just as an angler’s baited hook is designed to catch a fish, clickbait headlines are worded to spark the reader’s interest (and one-way interaction).
This stands true whether a headline promises the ten deadliest spiders on earth or which vegetables can help you live to one hundred years of age.
Photos often accompany the headlines to reinforce what the designers hope to produce: a click.
As alluded to above, the perfect clickbait headline from the 1990s was “Al Gore says he invented the Internet.”
Changing his spoken words just enough created millions of clicks to see just what the VP said. The headlines drove traffic, fueled often-testy comments, and created early viewership winners on the web.
The danger of using clickbait headlines is that a catchphrase filled with promise that doesn’t deliver leaves readers angry.
Fulfilled clickers return regularly, while unfulfilled readers leave websites frustrated and are less likely to click advertising they find on gimmicky websites.
Plus, the tendency is that unhappy viewers lose interest and spend less money on products at unscrupulous sites.
Classic Clickbait Examples That Actually Work
Besides the headlines about Al Gore, the news media have found that mentioning a political need or fear in a headline produces clicks.
Beyond news sites, other website owners have also learned that instilling urgency in readers through a headline gets results.
Check out some classic examples:
1. “You’ll Never Believe”
This is an often-seen headline beginning.
The start is usually followed by what happened to, what happened in, how “X” got rich (or broke), or how “X” looks today.
These headlines drive readers to anticipate the good and bad times that have befallen sports figures, Hollywood stars, and politicians.
In the marketing world, it can be used to create anticipation in a reader (“You’ll Never Believe this Simple Method to Rank High in Google”).
2. “X Things You Need to Know”
Lists of any top categories such as sports records, music charts, sales, money made, fruits to eat, ways to live longer, and how to save money shopping (which may or may not be an oxymoron) are widespread — and hard to resist.
We even use it here, in our blog (“8 Content Marketing Fails That You Need to Know”).
3. “This Weird Trick”
This is offered as a great life hack that will replace our need to exercise regularly or lose weight without dieting.
We’re usually disappointed by the advice on the next page or the endless pages we endure hoping to get what was offered.
It also appears in marketing blogs (“This Weird Trick Increased the Conversion Rate of our Landing Page in 110%”, for example).
4. “This Is What Happens if You”
This is another great persuader. It makes us worry, “What if we don’t know something?”
We bet you would love to click on this blog post: “This Is What Happens if You Stop Worrying Too Much about SEO”.
5. “The X Best”
Everybody loves a list, right?
People want to know the best things in the opinion of the author and compared them with the items they already love or hate.
Again, we are guilty of this: “The 7 Best Visual Content Tools to Boost your Blog’s Engagement”.
Why is Clickbait so popular?
Clickbait headlines for news articles and advertising “lists” are viral and successful, driving a significant portion of internet clicks and grabbing audience attention.
Because the headlines play to our sense of adventure and a general desire for instant gratification, we don’t need 400-page books or three-hour movies to be entertained.
A simple click and some funny or provocative stories and photos will do the job in just minutes.
Part of that instant gratification we love is seen in the massive proliferation of internet casinos and land-based casinos across the globe that specialize in slot machines.
You can spin the reels every five seconds and get your satisfaction from the anticipation of winning or the payoff itself.
That’s how most social media works today, basically. We’re hook on infinite scrolling and can’t stop updating our screens for the next new post.
Sometimes we win and see something exciting, sometimes we lose. But we will always click.
Does Clickbait Work All the Time?
Proven by analytics and marketing studies, clickbait works if the only criteria are getting eyes on the prize and capturing viewers.
Getting quality interaction and repeated hits does not work with all clickbait, and that’s where the term gets its negative connotation.
So, while we might agree that clickbait is annoying, the headline writer is telling their audience, “We know something you don’t know,” and we are curious.
We wonder, “What was the top rock hit in 1988?” and “Why did a ten-time All-Star sports hero go to jail?”
And who can resist a headline that asks, “How to increase your profit using the same content marketing strategy as Spotify?”
But Wait. Can Clickbait Be Honest with Your Audience?
We all have a moral compass, and somewhere in each of us is a little voice that says, “Hey, don’t go over the line.”
If that doesn’t sound like you, at least ask yourself if you would be happy clicking on a link and getting a little bait and switch article that has nothing to do with the headline.
To keep your audience happy, clicking, and buying products from your website or your advertisers, deliver what your headlines offer.
The trust you develop will be enhanced by implementing excellent influence marketing and using high-quality sources, whether you are allied to a known icon or recapping an existing story or interview.
Clickbait examples of partnering and piggybacking include: “Apple’s New Phone Design Crew teaches us…”, and “SEO Specialists Agrees…”.
Leverage Different Strategies on Different Platforms
Actionable headlines include the likes of “Get Thousands of Followers” and “20 Ways to Make More Money,” but they won’t get you much action if they aren’t on the right platform.
The first headline might not do well on an expectant mother website, but it could be killer on a social media marketing site.
Likewise, the second headline would do poorly on a diet website but get plenty of clicks on financial planning or workforce websites.
Wrap Up: Using Only the Top Clickbait Examples
Writing clickbait examples and providing accurate articles via clickthrough is an excellent start to offering eventful information to your readers.
Skipping the flimsy stuff and capturing readers with quality stories is another.
Getting readers to your site and keeping them happy is as much an art as a science.
It demands more than just good writing. Fortunately, we’ve got great techniques to help you increase your blog traffic.
Follow our tips, and you’ll expand your audience and capture readers for the long run!