It’s an unfortunate and unavoidable truth—today’s digital media is saturated with clickbait. Even a few traditional news sources seem to have given up “fighting the good fight” and have started using clickbaity headlines themselves (and you won’t believe what happens next!).
Although clickbait is arguably effective, it is also cheap and unprofessional. It might work for some business models, but for the vast majority of entrepreneurs, you’re better off trying to avoid clickbait headlines than to “sell out” in the style of Buzzfeed or Upworthy.
So with this in mind, what elements go into a headline for an article or piece of blog content that will still get attention, without resorting to cheap tactics? Here are some key concepts:
More than anything else, you need to establish a fundamental sense of trust with your reader base. Your readers should know your blog content is worth reading, and that starts with creating quality material. Your headline shouldn’t have to feel forced—you, in turn, should be able to trust that your readers are capable of deciding for themselves what interests them. That will help earn their respect.
Overly hyperbolic headlines, for example—including those like “27 of the Absolute Worst Things that Could Happen in Your Work Day”—promise far more than the articles can actually deliver. Your headlines should never be misleading or inaccurate, and should respect the trust you have built in your relationship with your readers and customers.
Tell your readers exactly what they can expect out of a piece of blog content. The very title of this post, for example, probably let you know exactly what you could expect once you clicked the link. Vague blog headlines don’t get many conversions because they don’t give people a good idea of what type of information is waiting for them on the other end of their click.
Whenever possible, try to keep your headlines within 70 characters or fewer—or about half of a tweet. Longer headlines could get cut off in search engines or in social shares. Be as concise as possible while still giving the reader a good idea of what your content is all about.
These are the three most important elements of a successful, non-clickbait blog content headline. And if your brand needs any assistance with your blog writing efforts, consider working with a professional content writing service.