No matter how good your latest piece of content is, getting people to read it can be tough.
As far back as 2011 a study carried out by AOL and Nielsen found that nearly 27,000,000 pieces of web content were shared every day. That’s before the benefits of content marketing truly caught on with most marketing professionals. Today I can only imagine that figure is even higher.
In response, one tactic I’ve seen advocated to help businesses make sure that their content generates those all-important visitor numbers is the use of UpWorthy style headings.
The power of headings in content creation
Headings are the most important piece of copy you’ll write. Before an individual reads one word of your article/report/whitepaper you first have to make them want to click your link in the first place. The heading is central to this decision.
It’s been claimed that while 80% of people will read your heading, only 20% will bother to read the rest of your carefully worded content. It’s up to you to provide the convincer.
Enter the click bait.
You know the type. Over emotionally charged headings that promise to change your outlook on the world like, FOREVER.
Headings that use hyperbole without a trace of shame and without any real explanation as to what you can expect to find at the other end of that verbal rainbow.
Examples of UpWorthy click-bait headlines that have received a phenomenal amount of clicks include:
• Bullies Called Him Pork Chop. He Took That Pain With Him And Then Cooked It Into This
• 9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact
• Watch The First 54 Seconds. That’s All I Ask. You’ll Be Hooked After That, I Swear
• If This Video Makes You Uncomfortable, Then You Make Me Uncomfortable
With these posts receiving millions of views each there is little argument that click baiting works; curiosity does indeed generate clicks.
Should you click bait?
The problem with click baiting is that in the long run such tactics could do your content more harm than good. Sure if you’re creating something truly extraordinary then by all means, go-ahead and hook, line and sinker those web visitors, but don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
The bottom line is that headings that don’t accurately convey what the content is about are spammy. How many times do you think your target audience will let you over promise and under deliver before they switch off for good? How many chances do you think they’ll give you to treat them like fools and what damage could this do to your reputation in the meantime?
There are of course lessons to be learned from the success of UpWorthy style headings. You do need to make sure it stands out and you do need to entice people to find out more. What you don’t need is to lose them at hello.