Talisa Jansen van Rensburg looks at the benefits of using a hint of clickbait in real media stories.
There are a lot of content creators within the media industry, some of which report on the same news as their competitors. This makes it hard to reach high volumes of readers and can be challenging when your headline is not attention-grabbing.
And there are only so many ways in which you can say the same thing. So what would be the solution? A sprinkle of clickbait. Here are three reasons why a little bit of clickbait will help your media agency get the reads it deserves:
1. It increases the chances of social shares
When you create content, you don’t only
want people to read; you also
want them to share it on social media. This is the best way to ensure that you will receive more traffic to your website. If your headlines include emotive words, people would turn that over into hashtags. Making use of hashtags that embody feelings get used most and receive a ton of engagement. Three such hashtags include:
- #love, which is used on 1 745 676 762 posts
- #fearless, which is used on 5 319 121 posts, and
- #happy, which is used on 560 122 878 posts
Negative emotions tend to not be used as frequently as positive words, meaning that if you create a headline that focuses on news and it is bad
, people wouldn't be excited to share it on social media.
But, if you follow in the footsteps of The Washington Post
, you just need to find a way to spice up the news, which will increase the chances of getting the content shared.
For example: Donald Trump has discovered one weird trick for getting people to agree with him.
This article talks about the fact that Donald Trump has a way to get people on his side. By adding the ‘weird trick’ to the mix, the article comes across as more interesting. This means that readers will feel compelled to click on the article and share it with others.
2. The number of pageviews will increase
The Washington Post
wrote an article called Trump sent a retired teacher a letter about gun policy. She fixed the grammar and sent it back
. There is no doubt that readers will want to see this ‘horribly written letter” sent from the White House. The readers might not actually even read the content, but just go on to hunt for the letter.
If this article's headline just read: Trump sent a retired teacher a letter about gun policy
, readers might not have found it interesting or eye catching at all. But adding in that second bit did the trick: “She fixed the grammar and sent it back.” People love
a little bit of drama, and that is just enough to get them interested in clicking on your link.
Headlines are vital for SEO purposes; therefore, you can’t get carried away when creating a headline for your content. Rather, stick to the facts and try to find a way to make it a little sexier.
3. Clickbait will get people talking about your content
When you create headlines with the help of clickbait, you create a sense of curiosity. And if there is something humans definitely are, it is curious
. Humans need
to know everything and understand everything — the fear of missing out is a clear indication of this. Another thing humans need in their lives, especially South Africans
, is humour.
When there is a bad situation, South Africans need to joke about it. For example, with load shedding, instead of being angry all the time, we make jokes on a daily basis.
By creating content with a headline that creates a sense of reader curiosity and makes the, chuckle, you will definitely get readers interested in your content. And when people actually
start caring about the content you create, they will start talking about it and
An example of a headline with a hint of clickbait and humour is this article on news24: There aren't even six stages of grief - Twitter users react to stage 6 load shedding.
This would be funny and relevant to South Africans since Eskom introduced a stage 6 a few months ago to the load shedding schedule. And now we are aware that there is even up until stage 8 load shedding. People would want to click on the article since the humour attracts them to read the article.
Another headline that really caught audience’s attention was called: Melanie Verwoerd: My f*k, Eskom!
This would attract a lot of Afrikaans readers to click on the link since the headline contains an Afrikaans swear word. Many other cultures in South Africa also use that swear word and can think that it is funny.
media update top tip: Although dressing up your content with a hint of clickbait can up your pageviews, social shares and create curiosity, it is vital to remember that consumers are smart and they know when you are taking the headline too far.
So make sure you don’t go overboard; there is a big difference between real content with a hint of clickbait and actual
clickbait.Do you think more publishers should make use of clickbait-style headlines? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Now that you understand why creating clickbait-like headlines can be beneficial, be sure to read the Five content consumption trends in 2020 to get a deeper understanding of what consumers want.
*Image courtesy of Canva