Clickbait but with style

Clickbait but with style

Do you love clickbait? That’s right NO ONE does.
Let me explain how to write content that feels like it’s clickbait, but truly isn’t and makes people stay, read and click.

How many times did you stumble upon a title (Reddit / Email / News…) and you think to yourself - wait what? so you click.

The science behind clickbait works well: content writers come up with headlines that “activate” a part of your brain which triggers the release of dopamine for a quick moment.

And that’s when you click.

Clicking on something is easy! On the other hand reading a piece and realizing it fails to deliver the punchline by not fulfilling the headline’s promise: that is a bummer.

How to deliver the punchline and keep the reader engaged? Well this is how I think when I write something.

1. Think of who you are writing for

First of all visualize your audience and start taking mental notes of how they would react to the topic you’re going to write about.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your audience might not be easy, but it can be broken down into steps.
By defining your audience’s motivations, frustrations, background and goals. In many ways it is similar to doing research to create a persona.

2. Straight out explain what’s in it for them

The attention lifespan of 2020-something humans is very limited. You immediately need to capture your audience’s attention.
You should get to the point quickly fairly early.
So go ahead and tell your audience what they will be getting right off the bat.

The skill here is understanding what is your audience after.
We can learn from people who go shopping: some are repeat customers, some are stepping inside your store for the first time, others won’t walk in today, but love to stare at the display - from the outside.
Everyone’s got a different goal and yet they’re all “shoppers”.

Their own personal reward is what will lure them in.
As a good rule of thumb no one cares about your product - truly, readers care about benefits - the benefits of whatever you’re telling/selling them.
Sometimes it’s not immediate to understand and hone in onto the benefits delivered.

3. You better be solving a pain point

When you manage to get direct traffic onto your page, you have to explain how you can alleviate the pain. If you’re not - give the audience something else worth their time.

Things you can do to solve a PAIN:

  • Solutions to their financial, productivity, operational pains

When you go to the dentist one of the things they do for you is clean your teeth, fix issues of all kinds - but the truth is that they’re selling you the ability to smile again without feeling conscious about it. That’s the real pain dentists solve for most.

Things you can share - trigger a GAIN:

  • A piece of novel data: i.e. X% of people do this
  • A list of options: i.e. The best X Y Z
  • A step by step approach: i.e. Do X with this 5 step approach

That’s why infographics are so useful, and food recipes work so well - because you’re solving issues for the reader (how to make X) quickly in a simple and repeatable approach - step by step commands.

(P.S. They also provide lists of ingredients in those blogposts - I always check them while im pushing my shopping cart around 😹!)

4. Feed the animal within

If you’re a good writer you will use basic human sentiments to your advantage: Happiness, anger, fear, curiosity etc
Remember those clickbait articles?

  • ‘The truth about…’
  • ‘This Is How…’
  • ‘You Can Now…’
  • ‘The Last …’
  • ‘You Won’t Believe…’
  • ‘Why You Should…’

Sometimes confusion can also trigger a click.

5. Towards the end, tell them what they’re missing out on

Remove as much doubt as you can and re-list what are the pitfalls of not solving the pain.
Present the benefits. Show testimonials and datapoints. These help reinforce your main idea

6. Score the goal

Finally, you need to capture the audience attention so they end up taking the action you want. You do that by writing a call to action.
Of course not every article needs a call to action but, here’s how it works

To write amazing call to actions there are amazing tricks:
The best calls to action reiterate the offer and emphasize the benefit of taking action.
“Start for free” is good because it’s one step better than “Start now” but, there are much better options out there when you take a benefit-first approach.
You can use also use “fear of missing out” techniques - to skew the decision making, so that the audience will take action:

  • Low inventory/low stock..
  • One-time deals..
  • Expiring offers..

Whatever you do, test if your call to action is descriptive enough.
Does your audience know what they will be getting after clicking?
If they “guess” correctly, are you delivering enough value in the next page?

Food for thought, hehe!