You’ve seen these hyperbolic headlines used on major news websites. Clickbait headlines and titles seem to have become the norm. Some marketers tout their ability to increase Click-Through Rates (CTR), but more people are expressing their displeasure with them. In fact, due to the high usage of these types of headlines, people are starting to become blind to them.
Thankfully, you no longer need to use clickbait headlines to increase click-through rates. In fact, you can even increase the level of trust you have with your readers without them.
Increase Click-Through Rates Without the Hype
Following are ten ways you can get more people to click on your headlines without resorting to exaggeration and hype. They are actually quite simple, but do not underestimate their effectiveness.
1) Tell Them What It’s About – The fact is, your readers want to know what’s inside the article. If you can tell them in the headline, then you’re going to get more reliable clicks than if you use hyperbolic headlines.
Think about what you want them to do after they click-through – you want them to read the content and answer your call to action, right? Of course you do. Will they do that if they click-through to read your article and what you said was inside isn’t there? Of course not.
You may be successful at getting them to click through to your article, but once they start reading and what you’ve written is of no use to them…they are GONE! It’s equivalent to the story of the little boy who cried wolf. Fool me once, fool me twice…
2) Tell Them At Least One Benefit – Your audience wants to know why they should read your article.
Try to tell them why within the headline, so that they know if they click through they’ll learn something.
“How to Write Clickbait Free Headlines Every Time” is a headline that gives the benefit of clickbait free headlines in combination of what exactly the article is about.
“How to Increase Website Traffic Faster for Less” is another good example of a benefit driven headline.
Remember this when writing headlines: to increase click-through rates, answer the question “What’s In It For Them” (WIIFT).
3) Test Your Headlines – Most of the best autoresponders allow for testing of different titles, which can help you create better headlines.
Split up your list and use one headline for one side of your list, and the other for the other side – but be sure to send them out at the same time!
Send the most opened headline to those who did not open from either list.
Remember this: only test one thing at a time!
In other words, once you’ve tested a headline and found one that works, then move on to the sub-headline, the lead (opening paragraph) etc; etc.
If you test more than one thing at a time, then you’ll never determine which part you tested made them click through.
4) Include Stats in Your Headlines – People love facts and the more facts you can include in a headline, the more likely you are to get clicks.
Stats aren’t manipulative either; they’re based on fact and mean something.
For instance, “29% of Marketers Love This Software” is a great headline if you want marketers to click.
Again, the key is to truly give them the rest of the information within the article as well.
More on how to increase click-through rates…
5) Optimize for Keywords – Anytime you can use keywords in the first three words of your title, do so.
There isn’t anything manipulative about that, because you have to have a way for your audience to find your content so that you can help them.
Personally, I prefer to create my headline first. By doing so, I know what to cover in my body copy to ensure that it matches what I said in the headline.
Others like to write their body copy first, then come back and write their headline – And that’s okay too!
There is no right or wrong way of writing headlines, so long as what you write speaks to your reader and gets them to click-through to your article that backs up what you said in your headline.
6) Don’t Leave Out the Dek – The “Dek”, or subhead, is the area below the title that shows up often in search engines and on social shares.
Make sure this part of your share is showing up and that it further explains what the article is going to be about. It can explain the title further for the reader.
Most often, unless you have written a subhead to accompany your headline, then the search engines will pull out the first 160 characters of your post and show this. This is the Meta Description as seen in the Search Engine Results Page, or SERPs.
Personally, I look at my meta description as the “Ad” for my article. I want it to “advertise”, or promote, my article to the point that it will increase click-through rates and readers.
7) Avoid Tricks and Manipulation – It’s been said elsewhere in this article but it can’t be repeated enough: Tricks and manipulation might get clicks, but they won’t get results!
If you’re after results, buys, conversions and sales, don’t trick your audience. Respect them enough to be honest.
Again, people are much more savvy and “Internet Conscience” then ever before. No self-respecting business owner, or writer, is going to use clickbait headlines to increase click-through rates. It’s just too ‘hokey’ and unprofessional.
8) Take a Stand – Even though this might seem like clickbait, if you really do take a stand as the headline states, it’s not.
For example, you can write a title such as “How to End Clickbait Forever” and mean it.
Sure, forever is a long time, but you’re taking a stand and you’ll explain in the article.
And if everyone would implement the ideas given in this article, then we actually could end clickbait forever! 😉
9) Speak Directly to Your Reader – When you write a headline or any content for your audience, always write as if you are speaking to one person.
Use personal pronouns like “you” in your titles and in your content, and you’ll connect better with them without even trying.
People like to be noticed, that you are talking to them and not at them. Have a discussion with your reader, speak directly to them and you’ll gain their attention and appreciation.
This is also a good reason for Finding Your True Writing Voice: it makes it easier to speak directly to your reader!
10) Avoid Superlatives – This is when you add words like “ever”, “best”, “perfect”, “smartest”, etc.… as an explanation to your title.
Adding in too many extraneous words clutters up the title and takes away from the meaning. It also does little to let the customer know what’s inside.
Headlines are central to getting more eyes on your content, but you don’t want to be manipulative to the point that you’re misleading them. Just think of how you feel when it happens to you, and think about how your audience will feel if you do it to them.
Put these tips to use and you’ll never have to resort to using clickbait headlines to increase click-through rates again.
It may take some getting used to, especially if you’ve been accustomed to using exaggerated or “hypey” headlines.
And as is usual, the more you practice the better you’ll become.
Which of These Tips Did You Like Best? (reply in comment section below)
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