Ah clickbait. Like copywriting before it, knowing and understanding why clickbait gets written and all the tricks it uses to get clicked makes the whole thing feel unintelligent. Be that as it may, numerous websites and authors owe their living to clickbait. I will not judge, but I will satirize 🙂
It is a common occurrence for a link with the title like the one at the top of my amazing writing tips article to have nothing at all with the phrase that was just clicked. This reminds me of the old days (I can officially say that now that I’m 50) when webspam filled the internet in order to capture clicks and Google searches. I made plenty of money generating it myself on platforms known as content farms or content mills. Ah, the simpler times, where getting enough money for a sweet night out was just four or five 300 word articles away.
By now you should be outraged that I haven’t given away even one of the 4 most profitable ways to write clickbait. Here are links to our other articles that are about, or tangentially about the original headline.
Okay, now that we are about 200 words in, and spell check did me a solid with fixing my misspelling of tangentially (seriously, what is the i doing there anyway?). I will now offer a maximum profit clickbait secret. It you have already heard of it, too late! No refunds.
#1 Insist They Won’t Believe It
Most people will believe what they read, barring obvious bias or outrageous hyperbole, but it’s like smelling sour milk, your instinct is to tell your brother to smell it, and his instinct is to go ahead and smell it even though he knows that it is spoiled. In this case you are smelling the won’t-believe-it milk. Also, it is #3 that you won’t believe. Why #3? The same reason grocery stores keep the milk in the back. You have to go through the whole thing to get to #3, which gives plenty of time to show ads, unless you have an ad blocker.
#2 Use a Number
Someday I will as a psychiatrist or neurologist, or whatever why it is that humans respond so notably differently if there is a number involved. Are so many Americans that terrible in math that anything resembling numbers makes them tremble in obedient fear? Is the promise of four so enticing because it’s more than only three? Or is it that the commitment to only four means that the reading time will be shorter? I could Google it, but that’s not the point of this article, so I won’t bother. Feel free to comment below.
#3 Use a Celebrity or Beloved Place or Thing
Everyone has known for years that the National Enquirer is fake, and when I read Us magazine, I feel like the surrounding pressure has lowered so much that I can feel the oxygen my brain needs oozing back out into the surrounding atmosphere. — Phew. OK I put it back. Technically oxygen leaving to a lower pressure environment is called diffusion. Alright, seriously people will click on anything involving a celebrity, especially if it is something bad about the celebrity.
#4 Have No Shame
This article can hardly claim to be useful, yet here we are. On the one hand, I feel good about tricking you, on the other hand, I’m really a good person inside, so if this wasn’t satire, I would be ashamed to have written it. Don’t get me wrong, cash papers over the shame, so if I had been offered like $200, I’d be okay with it.
Hey, kids! This is a comedy from the 1900s called Beverly Hills Cop 2. The scene is where undercover detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is pretending to take a $200 bribe to make some parking tickets go away when in fact he needs to use Sidney Bernstein’s computer to get information about the case. This is very funny and Beverly Hills Cop the original is as well.
It relates to this article very tenuously because the bribe here is $200, which is what I stated would be required to cover up some minor level of shame. It is also a sham. People click on things with videos in them, so we’ll call this #5, but don’t tell anybody.