How to beat clickbait headlines (and win)

15 Jul 2022

Content marketing

Megan Boyle

Megan Boyle

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What is a clickbait headline? 

Clickbait headlines are usually used to attract lots of attention to blogs or articles. These headlines are often very misleading about the actual content of an article, but this is exactly what gets clicks. Tabloids, as well as other companies and brands, use clickbait to drive traffic to their site, blogs or to read their magazines, and this has become a real issue.

Why is clickbait bad? 

The problems with clickbait headlines and fake news have become irrevocably linked in the past couple of years, and both can be very harmful. Tricking people into reading your content is definitely frowned upon within the content world, and we wouldn’t recommend it. You’re not creating anything useful or valuable for your readers, so try creating a headline that won’t leave people disappointed when they click.


How to avoid producing clickbait headlines 

red traffic stop sign

Avoid clickbait headlines like the plague. We know it’s difficult – we also want to ‘Get rich quick in 3 simple steps’ – but it’s a waste of time, trust us. As a business, you’re going to want to ensure that the sort of content you produce doesn’t mimic that of glossy magazines. Build your brand reputably. Tabloids are a guilty pleasure, but they don’t send the right message when it comes to selling products or services. So, we’ve put together the best ways to avoid creating clickbait headlines. 

1. Make it specific 

Headlines that are specific but still peak curiosity are a great way to move away from classic clickbait. Explain exactly what your readers will find inside your article, but make it sound exciting. For the most part, users will be searching for something specific and they want you to help them, not go off on a tangent. Give your readers what they want. 

2. Is it credible? 

Is your headline true? Is it saying exactly what a reader could find in your article or blog? If it’s a no to both of these questions, then there’s a good chance your headline is on its way to being clickbait. Being credible is also about using well referenced and accurate sources – this tells both your readers and search engines that your content is credible. Content accuracy is important, and your headline is no different. 

3. Are you being helpful? 

By posting content online, or in a magazine, you’re basically saying to the world that you have something valuable to tell people. Fake news or rumours are not what anyone would call valuable – they are clickbait. So, when you’re thinking about what to title your blog, cater for your audience and be as helpful to them as you can. That means creating a sensible and useful headline to direct them to an article that can provide answers. 

4. Put yourself in their shoes 

Imagine you had clicked on the headline ‘Man marries orangutan instead of wife’, you would probably be hoping to read a funny story about a man running off into the sunset with an orangutan, or maybe he mistook an orangutan for his wife – who knows. If, instead, you come across a boring article about a wedding that just so happened to feature an orangutan, you’re going to be pretty disheartened. Not only is this headline misleading, it makes the article super disappointing. Our final message: don’t do this to your readers. 


Does your content marketing need a helping hand? Why not check out what our content marketing team can do for you and see if any of their services catch your eye? Otherwise, we’re happy to have a chat over the phone or via email. Contact us today.

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