Are you writing blog after blog, day after day, only to go unrecognized? Is your content marketing not getting the attention it deserves? You keep refreshing your page, but alas, there aren’t any new clicks, subscribers, or shares. Do you want to throw in the towel and call it a day? But don’t give up just yet. There might just be a way to fix this.

And the best part is, the answer could be as simple as changing your headlines. So do headlines actually play such a significant role? Trust us, they do.

For any post, article, or even an advertisement, the headline catches the audience’s attention first. To pique the audience’s interest, you need to hook them with a good headline that’ll reel them in to read your post.

So what qualifies as a good headline? 

Well, that’s a matter of contention. Some experts believe that SEO friendly headlines are one step above, while others think the trick is in using attention-grabbing and dramatic clickbait headlines. 

It’s an actual battle of headlines.

So before we proceed, let’s cover the basics.

SEO headlines vs. Clickbait headlines

SEO headlines are devised for search engines like Google.

The definition of SEO headlines are headlines that contain one or more keywords that people are looking for. Google recognizes SEO headlines because they answer the users’ questions.

But wait, there’s a catch. 

Stuffing your headline with one too many keywords can make it sound stiff and robotic. And while it may rank high for S.E.R.Ps (search engine results page), it may not attract users and the clicks you’re looking for. 

On the other hand, clickbait headlines are catchy and draw in the readers by providing attractive statistics and new revelations.

Clickbait headlines often receive a bad rapport. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little mystery and allure, and that’s precisely what these headlines provide. Clickbait headlines, at their best, are convincing and, at the worst, could be misleading.

Yet websites such as BuzzFeed and Upworthy put out clickbait headlines that attract millions of users to their content. Their clickbait headlines elicit an emotional response while triggering curiosity, making it irresistible for the reader.

But also remember your headline shouldn’t just be attention-grabbing. It should provide value, as well. So you’ll need to perfect the art of making your headlines attractive yet reliable.

Why do clickbait headlines work?

According to social media Facebook’s Khalid El-Arini and research scientist Joyce Tang, “Click baiting is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see.”

The reason these headlines are so interesting is that 1. They attract the audience and drive up traffic and 2. Our brains crave the information left out, so we click on the link to know more.

In one study conducted in the United States by researchers from The University of Mississippi and The University of Oklahoma, over 25% of news headlines of mainstream media and social media used clickbait headlines for their content. The usage continues to expand.

Why should you use clickbait headlines? Research suggests over 25% of news headlines and clickbait and the usage continues to expand.

Read more on how you can write #clickbait headlines via @socialanimal_io

The first thing your viewer’s view is the title. So, if your viewers consider the title to be boring (or if they don’t find it click-worthy), then they’re never going to click it to see what sort of content you’ve created for them. Click baits are often used for advertising purposes as well.

One of your headline’s primary purposes is to capture the attention of your audience and lead them to your post. And once they’re on your web page, your subheadings will make the content scannable and lure them into reading the whole post/article.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration to write great headlines and titles, you’ve come to the right place.

What makes awesome headlines?

Writing an awesome headline takes time and practice. Some well-established writers take 20, or even 30 attempts to develop the perfect headline and for the right reason. Headlines are very important, and you can’t afford to make compromises. Of course, it can get overwhelming. I mean, imagine editing a line 20 to 30 times, but the right headline could be what transforms your content from being read by hundreds to thousands.  

In the words of Barry Feldman, “Consider content marketing a war zone. The battle is for attention, and your headline is your weapon. The reader’s perpetually–but subconsciously–asking, “Why should I read this?”

No matter your content marketing goals, your job is to answer their question by showing them what they have to gain from your post/article. Your headline needs to deliver on its promise. Simply stated, it should fill the curiosity gap of the reader.

How to write great clickbait headlines?

Though it may take time, writing great clickbait headlines is not as tough as you think. Once you know what people are looking for on the internet, all you need to do is present the topic attractively.

Here are a few strategies that you can use to craft click-bait type headlines.

Popular trends

Do you wish to create an impression with your title? Adding a pop culture or movie reference instantly makes your headline more catchy. If you choose a topic that is trending, you can also rank higher for S.E.R.P.s. And a simple way to boost your website traffic is by incorporating a movie or song reference.

You can also look for catchphrases that you can include in your blog topics. For instance, consider this blog offering email marketing tips, ‘Email marketing- The dark side rises’. It uses a famous batman phrase while talking about dark mode when it comes to email marketing.

Another great way of finding popular trends is by studying your competitors. By identifying which titles work best for them, you can craft your own type of clickbait.

Keywords

The most crucial step to writing a title/headline is to list keywords relevant to your topic/business.

There are tools online that you can use to find the right keyword, and once you run a Google search, you can assess the search results. Study it and see if there is an information gap or a problem that needs to be addressed. And once you have analyzed the keywords that people are looking for online, you can use them in your titles and content.

Often, you may not be able to use the exact keyword people are looking for. For example, say a person is searching for the keyword “Chennai business man,” using it in the title/headline won’t make grammatical sense. In such a case, you can use a phrase like “Business man in Chennai” and Google will assess the keyword in the same manner.  

Create hype

A number of clickbait titles/ headlines make use of terms such as “shocking”, “unbelievable”, “surprising”. These kinds of leads often draw in the user even before they have processed the title. A good deal of news articles makes use of such clickbait y headlines to get people to read their articles. But there’s something that you need to keep in mind. You need to ensure that the content is good enough and delivers on what the clickbait promises to its readers. If not, it will cause the readers to lose interest. Here are a few clickbait examples: ‘5 Shocking Tips to__ ‘, ‘The Sure-fire Way to___’ etc.

Want to peek at headlines that have driven millions of shares?

Click below to find “viral” headlines for any keyword!

Use listicles

Another way to up your clickbait ante is to use listicles. Ever wondered why the number of articles that use listicles is enormous? It’s because they’re the most successful headline type. The major benefit of using the listicle format is that you can conveniently organize any piece of content into a list. And it’s not very difficult to come up with headlines for the list. A few examples are ‘5 successful alternatives to plastic to save the environment’, ’10 simple means to become a more frugal traveler’, ‘5 tips to improve your digital advertisement campaign’, etc.

Use the S.H.I.N.E. formula

The next type you’re brainstorming for a clickbait title, use the S.H.I.N.E. formula.

  • Specificity 
  • Helpfulness 
  • Immediacy 
  • Newsworthiness 
  • Entertainment value

Try to include as many factors as you can to get people to read your articles. The number of factors you include will affect the clickbait score of the title.

Let’s consider each one.

Specificity

When your claims are more specific, people on the internet find it more credible. For example, instead of “I saved a lot of money,” you can write, “I saved $5,400.”

Helpfulness 

When internet users access your website, they aren’t doing it to boost your ego but are looking for a solution to their problem. So ensure that the answer is evident in your headline. A few clickbait type headlines that work here are: ___ ‘Ways to ____’, ‘How to Improve ____’,etc.

Immediacy

In today’s fast-paced environment, no one has time for slow results. With more people looking for quick results, you need to give your headlines immediacy by talking about the news that’s currently pertinent or things that they can achieve right now. Here are a few clickbait examples that promote immediacy: ’10 Quick Solutions to Get Rid of Pests’, Ways to Use Clickbait to Increase Clicks for Your Article’, etc.

Newsworthiness

Do you have a news story that could be beneficial to business owners? Or do you have something that could help with meeting marketing goals? Whatever your newsworthy content may ensure that the title is impressive, huge, and magnetic. Here are a few examples from fox news, which is infamous for its clickbait journalism: ‘Biden H.U.D. Secretary frontrunner praised top communist as her ‘mentor’, Trump says for the first time that Biden’ won,’ adds that he is not conceding.’

Entertainment value

By providing entertainment value in your headline, you can draw readers to your article and get more clicks. This is why many people read web comics, celebrity gossip, or humourous blogs – it’s entertaining. If your headline is entertaining, chances are you’ll get more clicks.

Use the 4U formula

SEO guru Neil Patel suggests using Melania Duncans 4U formula to write exciting headlines that get clicks.

  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Unique
  • Ultra-specific.

This four-part formula helps to draw audiences to your headline and drive up traffic for your sites.

Useful

Any headline or article needs to be useful and add value to the reader’s life. Here are a few examples: ‘5 tips to boost worker productivity in your company in 2020’, ‘5 tips to boost your social media marketing campaign today’, etc.

Urgent

When it comes to your headline, create F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out). There’s so much content online that we ignore a news source that isn’t time-sensitive.

So if you offer something urgently, readers will want to get to the news source immediately. They wouldn’t want to lose out on information that they believe they need right now. For example, ‘How will the latest Sebi move affect your mid-cap or small-cap company?’.

Unique

People enjoy rare and unknown phrases. They stand out like a sore thumb and pique the interest of people. 

Anything that you can do in an over-saturated online environment to make your headline stand out would help. You can use wordplays, pun, puzzles, etc. BuzzFeed is an expert at this.

Ultra-specific

Mostly headlines that have numbers in them do well. This is because they are ultra-specific.

When they press on a headline, readers want to know just what they should expect. Say, for instance, don’t just talk about marketing tips for marketers but specify digital marketing or email marketing. And instead of talking about how people can boost website traffic, talk about how they can use SEO to increase traffic.

Make it personal

Have you ever been drawn to an article that seems to be addressed to you? Chances are, you have. This is why you need to make sure that your title and content speak to the readers. Using a lot of the second person in your stories and news articles, you can build a great rapport with your audience. So when it comes to your clickbait headline, make it personal, for example, ’10 Quick Ways in Which You Can Speed up Your Weight Loss Journey’.

Make it controversial

You can also break the status quo by using your headline to stir up controversy on something. These kinds of clickbait headlines work great to drive up engagement. Controversial content, if used right, will cause ripple effects on social media platforms. Say, if you use a clickbait headline that is silly, crazy, or a even posing a riddle, it’ll pique the curiosity of the audience and drive up clicks. For example consider this headline of a news article -a column titled “Sorry ladies – equal pay has to be earned”. This column received much interest due to its controversial nature.

Use headline analyzers

After following these tips, if you’re still unsure whether your click headline works and whether it will draw in the reader, then you can get some help. There are tools like Social Animal’s “Headline analyzer” that’ll help you understand the headline sentiment of top articles for any keyword, helping you construct your own.

This tool offers data based on the use of terms that are emotive, typical, uncommon, and powerful. It also evaluates other variables, such as title length and keywords. Thus, it is one of the most effective tools available to write killer clickbait headlines.

Try analyzing headlines for free, signup for free.

So, what’re you waiting for? Use these tips right now and watch your headlines transform for the better.

Author

Zaha Shakir is a content marketer and SEO specialist. She enjoys weaving stories and creating content for articles, social media, webpages, etc. An avid reader and a movie buff, you’d either find her nestled in a book or enjoying the latest movie.

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