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6 Types of Clickbait

6 Types of Clickbait

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Even if the term “clickbait” doesn’t sound familiar, if you’ve been on social media at any time in your life, you’ve seen it – posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc., that you feel compelled to click on because the headline or image is so engaging or thought-provoking.

Clickbait content is a trend that’s gaining more traction among marketers and organizations or people who want to promote themselves, their websites, their products, etc. In many instances, the posts are disguised as “legit” sharing posts – as if the originator was just posting because you might find the content interesting. But it’s actually a carefully crafted way to get you clicking and take you to a page that almost always contains something to sell – whether it’s a product or a page full of advertisements.

If you’re a marketer, this is probably part of your social media strategy. If you’re an internal communicator, there might be some strategies here you can use to get more opens and views from your audience, as well. Anyway, here are a few examples of clickbait content used to get your mouse rolling and your finger clicking.

One of the biggest trends in clickbait content is the list… Heck. If you’re reading this because your interest was piqued and clicked the link on Facebook or Twitter, you just proved why this is an effective technique. If you want social media audiences to read your content, create interesting lists. If your content doesn’t fit into the list mold, find a way to turn it into a list if possible.

The reason the list is so effective is that it’s organized and easy to scan (assuming you’re not on one of those annoying pages with banner and pop-up ads til Tuesday). If you’re giving 6 tips on starting the perfect vegetable garden or 4 easy steps to put up a shelf, you’re offering, quick, easy information that can help solve a problem or provide useful knowledge.

I’m sure you’ve seen these: “This man heard noises coming from his bedroom. You won’t BELIEVE what happened next,” or “Her cat wandered into her neighbor’s yard. What happened next is the most AMAZING thing you’ve ever seen!” Attention grabbed, right? Don’t you want to know what happened?

These headlines are like the end of the season for a TV show – the audience can’t wait to find out how it all ends. Often, the clicked link goes to a video or a series of photos on a page that will probably have a lot of slow-loading advertisements.

Headlines are effective, but photos can hook your reader instantly. The more interesting the image, the better. Beautiful people always get attention. Freezeframes of funny or interesting videos aren’t bad either. And if post a picture of kittens, puppies, or bably sloths, you’re almost guaranteed to get clicks. If you’re a social media marketer and you can find a way to relate your content to cute animals or sexy people, good on ya! You’re halfway there!

Objects of Hatred or Envy
Titles attached to this subject are designed to make you curious about an individual or organization that supposedly defies convention. For instance, I’m sure you’ve seen headlines like, “Fitness Companies HATE Him…” or “Tech Companies Everywhere Are Dying to Know How He Does It!” The premise is that this person/entity has some secret or trick from which you can benefit… if you just click the link to find out more!

This one is most associated with lists. In this instance, the content creator wants to force you to question your knowledge or almost dare you to click. For example, “Here Are 5 Foods You Never Thought Would KILL YOU!” or “This Video Will Change Your Life FOREVER!” These are effective because you’re dying to know if you eat any of those five foods, or if your life can really be altered by a video. Sometimes you just click to prove the headline wrong.

Defying Convention
This type of clickbait will take popular notions and directly defy them. You might see a post title like, “Think Orange Juice is Good for You? Think Again!” or “Brad Pitt is the World’s Most Handsome Man? Wait til You See This Guy!” Of course OJ is good for you, right? And Brad Pitt HAS to be the best-looking dude in the world! Why would anyone think otherwise? I must click and see what could possibly be the contrary evidence!… that’s kinda how it goes.

These techniques can be interesting, annoying, or both. But they also might be useful to you in your marketing/engagement efforts. I have a feeling you’ve seen these post on your social media feeds, so let me know what content stood out to you the most. Was there a particular headline or image you thought was particularly interesting? Tell us about it in the Comment section below!

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