I’m just going to say it right now: clickbait headlines do more harm than good.
Before I continue, I should explain: there’s a distinction between clickbait headlines and headlines that make you want to click.
Your headlines should be catchy. Their entire purpose is to get people to click your article and start reading.
In the words of David Ogilvy:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
But it all comes down to that distinction. And here’s the difference.
Headlines that make you want to click generate curiosity because they’re unconventional, ultra-specific, and they make a promise to deliver value.
Clickbait headlines are over-inflated, oftentimes misleading, and they typically over-promise and under-deliver on the value you’ll get in exchange for your time reading it.
Therein lies the problem: people are busy. Time is a precious commodity. And the content process is transactional.
Your reader gives you their precious time and attention. In return, you give them value.
If your clickbait headline under-delivers on your end of the deal, it reflects badly on your brand and deters people from reading your future content.
So, when creating content, I implore you: don’t write clickbait headlines, write headlines that make people want to click.