Getting All the Clicks — How to Craft Eye-Catching Headlines

If you mention the word ‘clickbait’ in any crowd, odds are you get scowls and looks of scorn in reply. Clickbait is often seen as the bane of existence for good and honest advertising and marketing campaigns. But the fact of the matter is that clickbait titles do everything a great headline should do and more! They get the attention they want and they get the click-through rates they need. 

That being said, there are several reasons why clickbait has the reputation it has today, and it is, unfortunately, one of the main reasons customers distrust headlines with too much ‘flair’. These are the key things you need to remember when crafting up some eye-catching headlines to ensure they don’t get lumped into the clickbait category. 

Avoid overpromising and underdelivering 

You’ve seen the types. The ones circulating around Facebook shared by well-meaning albeit uninformed relatives who couldn’t help resist a good headline.

Looks legit, doesn’t it? It mentions a reputable celebrity name, it talks about things that would be greatly relevant to a large audience. Why not take a gander to see what’s inside? The ‘payoff tip’ you find inside? 

“Save money.” 

Frustrating, no? This is where clickbait fails most and why it has the reputation it does. It relies entirely on a hard-hitting headline to draw in its reader base but it fails miserably at delivering the so-called ‘goods’. When writing your headlines, avoid overpromising on things you know your content or even your business cannot deliver. When customers know they’re getting exactly what’s ‘on the package’, trust is built, and subsequently so is customer loyalty.  

Keep it clever but not too specific 

A little bit of mystery adds some spice to life most times. Your business’ job is to find that delicate line between specific and vague. It’s about delivering interesting headlines that draw in your readers but pique their curiosity just enough to encourage them to click through to your content. A quick wit and the ability to hold things back is key here, in the same way a movie ending might clue viewers in at a potential sequel film. CoSchedule sets a great example of providing enough information without overwhelming their readers. 

Think of the SEO 

SEO is the bread and butter of getting your brand to the first page of any search engine. Getting to the first page means you’re getting the most exposure to your audience and therefore the most clicks. Getting the most clicks and boosting your SEO means your headlines need to include keywords the same. Due to digital content’s heavy reliance on SEO, headlines should include common words that readers might look up. It’s not about cramming as many possible keywords into the headlines, but keeping keywords at the forefront of your mind. Creativity can take a hit at times when keywords become the focus, but relevance is most important overall anyway. 

Match the tone 

Keeping the tone of the content and your brand might seem like a no-brainer, but a slip of the tongue (or the fingers, for that matter) can very quickly lead to a negative experience for your readers. Matching the tone of the content piece you’re delivering, as well as the tone of the industry helps you stay within the target audience range that you’re aiming for. It’s not always about getting a quick giggle out of your readers — it’s about keeping things consistent. We’ve all seen headline blunders in the news that take a much too light tone when addressing serious matters. Tasteless headlines don’t serve to ingratiate the newspaper to their audience, so be cautious.

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