How to Avoid Creating Click Bait While Still Getting Clicks
Just last month, Facebook announced that it would be further reducing click bait in its News Feed after receiving feedback that people wanted to see fewer stories that were misleading or spammy. If your content fits into this category, you could get in trouble since Facebook has started penalizing this kind of content.
However, it cannot be denied that it is tempting to continue creating headlines that make people click. After all, shareability and engagement are the ultimate goals in social media. Well, that may be the case, but if the online audience thinks you are wasting their time and their precious bandwidth, you'll be headed for trouble.
The Decline of the Popularity of Click Bait
Don't you just find it irritating when a series of content with headlines that begin with “You Won't Believe What Happens When...”, “This is Life-Changing...”, “Her Reaction is Unbelievable...”, and the like pop up in your News Feed, and when you click on it you turn up disappointed and end up wasting bandwidth? It seems that you aren't alone. When Facebook asked users what type of content they preferred in their News Feed, 80 percent of the respondents shared that they preferred headlines that were unambiguous and were clear about the content of the article. This proves that the majority of the FB audience don't like being misled or disappointed, and aren't big fans of click bait.
Facebook has actually been going after click bait content since 2014, and their battle is gaining more ground and is becoming fiercer as they aim to ban content farms and publishers who are the source of spammy content. FB has announced that pages that share or post links to these kinds of posts are identified and will appear lower in News Feed. These pages will only stop being impacted by these changes when they also stop posting click bait headlines.
So now that algorithms are becoming smarter and social media users are becoming more discerning, how can you make online content that is still clickable but won't fall under the category of click bait?
Focusing on Clickable Content that Isn't Clickbait
There is a new science behind clicks, and it involves focusing more on how to engage your audience, rather than just aiming to get more clicks. How do you achieve this?
One way is to make sure your content actually lives up to your headline. You should still target to make headlines that are not boring or colourless, and to create curiosity or make readers care about your topic, but not to the point where your title becomes misleading, manipulative, and ambiguous. See to it that your article is actually interesting, informative, or life changing. The norm may have been to induce curiosity before someone clicks, but a better practice now is to induce interest, awe, and respect after someone has consumed your content.
Another tip is to provide an overview about what your article contains, so readers can discern early on if it is something that really interests them and if they should click.
Aside from that, your focus should still be to create great content. Make it relevant to your target audience, use appropriate images in the right places, inject phrases that create a sense of urgency, and don't insult the intelligence of your readers. Stop obsessing over clicks, and instead aim for high quality content that will actually be interesting and engaging enough for people to want to share.
By following these practices, you may end up getting fewer clicks, but each click you get will more likely be from readers who are genuinely interested in your article, those who will actually read your post from beginning to end, and who could possibly become loyal and valuable readers.