You Won’t BELIEVE This Defense of Clickbait

Marc Snitzer
March 25, 2016

Actually, you probably will.

In 2016 A.D./C.E./Hebrew calendar year 5776, we as media consumers are on the Internet a lot. That means a lot of different things, but primarily, that means there are a lot of eyeballs looking at a lot of stuff. Your web browser, your social media newsfeeds, your email inboxes—there’s so much stuff bombarding our senses online, that big social networks create algorithms to tailor and deliver what they think is the most relevant stuff to you.

In the wake of all of this, media outlets, brands and other content publishers need to cut through the noise and grab our attention. Article headlines remain one of the primary tools for this, as they have since the earliest days of newspaper publishing.

Look at this bad boy. 

A piece of text’s short summary, displayed loudly as a hook for potential readers. In the ever-evolving landscape of digital media, however, headlines have morphed into “clickbait”—obscenely hyperbolic and oftentimes misleading display copy with the sole purpose of generating page views and, ultimately, ad revenue.

Clickbait in its lowest form is disingenuous, but there’s a way to craft impactful digital headlines without sounding like a cheap scumbag. Let’s talk about the differences.

Bad Clickbait looks like this.


So, don’t write headlines like that. Instead, try this.

This is literally me when I write headlines. 

Headlines, regardless of how well they are executed, all serve the same purpose: to grab your attention. But when a little more thought and elbow grease gets put into the headline-creation process, you’ll find that content publishers are still able to get their messages across without falling into the traps of clickbait.