“Seven Facts About Gluten That Will Blow Your Mind”
“This Little Girl Takes Her Dog for a Walk — You Won’t Believe What Happens Next”
“Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Hair Products Was Wrong”
Do any of these titles sound familiar?
If your Facebook News Feed looks anything like mine, you’re probably seeing headlines like these five or six times a day. At least.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably gotten suckered into clicking on one or two of them, only to discover a blog post that’s … meh. At best. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being totally mind-blowing indeed, it’s probably a 2.
Folks, there’s a name for this practice of using sensationalistic headlines to entice people to click over to your content.
It’s called “click baiting.” And it sucks.
Sucks so badly, it’ll blow your mind.
I know, I know — it’s tough out there. Believe me, nobody understands better than I how freakin’ hard it is to get people’s attention these days and to earn that all-important, SEO-boosting clickthrough to your content.
And I know how tempting it is to toss just a li-i-i-ittle bit of spice into those titles if it’ll mean just a few more eyeballs hitting that gem of a post you worked so hard on.
But there’s a price to pay. And you’re not gonna like it.
Try thinking back to the last time you got suckered in by a click-baiting headline. How did you feel when you realized that there was, in fact, nothing at all mind-blowing, unbelievable, or presumption-shattering about the content you found on the other side?
Disappointed? A little resentful? Maybe even a bit angry?
I’ll tell you how it makes me feel: disrespected. Because the author has told me nothing about the content itself — he’s told me how I’m supposed to react to it. My mind is supposed to be blown. I’m supposed to be unable to believe what happens next. I’m supposed to question everything I ever thought I knew about [fill in the blank].
Don’t know about you folks, but I don’t take too kindly to some yahoo telling me how I’m supposed to be. And the next time I saw a link from said yahoo, I might be tempted to just keep on scrolling.
Chances are your readers feel the same way.
Let’s all remember why we’re in this content marketing thing to begin with: We want to build relationships so that our clients and prospects can get to know and trust us. But what kind of future does a relationship have if one party is being disrespected? Not much.
So even if “all the cool kids are doing it,” please stay strong and just say no to click baiting. Keep creating headlines that tell readers exactly what they’re going to get, then make sure you deliver.
Your readers will not only thank you for it — they’ll keep coming back.