Recently, some of you joined me for Part 1 of my 3 part headline series in a challenge to create headlines that convert using numbers. Now, for the second part of this series, I’m going to talk about how to avoid the temptation to use clickbait and to instead write bold and honest headlines.

First, let me make it very clear that there’s a BIG difference between bold headlines and clickbait headlines. That difference is honesty. By trying to clickbait people into reading your content, you damage your reputation and ultimately, your business suffers in the long run.

What is clickbait, you ask? Clickbait pertains to online content that uses a sensationalized and exaggerated title to convince users to view and read the article.

These types of headlines are misleading in that they don’t live up to the hype they create, thus disappointing those who read them… actually, that’s an understatement. Clickbait just plain pisses people off. And rightfully so!

Some examples of clickbait are:

  • This one strategy will help you earn $10,000 in 10 days!
  • This one trick grew my list up to 500% in less than 24 hours!
  • What my business partner did was so outrageous, I had to share!

These are pretty compelling, right?

But what if you opened the first one and the amazing strategy she mentioned was to create a simple lead magnet? Or the second one showed how to use hashtags on Instagram? Or the third one was an elaborate description of simply posting more often?

Answer: You’d be pissed.

These tips are all fine and good in and of themselves, but they are hardly going to garner you the mind-blowing results promised in the headline. Even worse, they’re all likely something you already know as common knowledge.

The end result of your clickbait experience will be that you’ll never want to read another article from this author again, and neither will a lot of other people who fall for the headline. So while their enticing title garners more clicks for search engines, their reputation tanks.

Truth is, these types of headlines will only hurt your credibility as a business owner because you’ll not only lose the trust of your readers if your tip doesn’t live up to the promise, you will also be attracting the wrong kind of people to your audience.

You’ll be attracting those who want the easy way; those who think success has a shortcut; those who usually give up fast when things aren’t working in their favour.

As exhilarating as being an entrepreneur is, you and I both know running a business isn’t always that easy. Integrity-driven business owners gain reputation, fans, and clients because our messages are ALWAYS heartfelt, authentic and come with a purpose of high service.

At the end of the day, the question still remains: “How can I create a headline that entices people to read my content?” And as mentioned last time, this is a good question because you now know the key to increasing readership really is in the headline first, and the quality content that follows a close second.

The right way to attract readers to your content is by learning the art of a BOLD AND HONEST HEADLINE.

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, and I’ll say it again: Technique brings us in front of an audience, but it’s the vulnerability in our content that makes us relatable and trustworthy. It’s the connection between our potential client and us.

Let’s look at these examples for a moment:

  • This is why my first course didn’t sell even once.
  • This one tool saved me hundreds of hours in my business!
  • All the mistakes I made in business led to my first $10,000 launch.
  • The only book in marketing that made sense to me.
  • Morning meditation can help your business grow – here’s how it worked for me.

Can you see the difference? These headlines spark curiosity, but they are not exaggerated nor sensationalized.

Proclamation Lead

John Forde of The Copywriter’s Roundtable has a similar technique called the Proclamation Lead.

“A well-constructed Proclamation Lead begins with an emotionally compelling statement, usually in the form of the headline. And then, in the copy that follows, the reader is given information that demonstrates the validity of the implicit promise made.”

Why They Work

Honest and bold headlines work because of two things:

  • They trigger an emotion.
  • They live up to the promise.

Let’s use the first example above.

“This is why my first course didn’t sell even once.”

What do you feel when you read this?

You most likely feel a sense of curiosity, pity or relatability. (Girl, don’t worry, we’ve ALL had that amazing course that just didn’t sell…)

These emotions tell you to read more to find out what happened or how she did it, yes?

Don’t just take it from me – even CoSchedule agrees! In one of the studies they did, results say that posts with headlines that have an emotional effect get more shares compared to those that do not.

The Homework

Your homework is to create a post with a bold and honest headline. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and talk about your journey – the ups & downs!

Next up is the last chapter of this headline series: Keyword Research in Less Than a Minute!

If you want to improve your content even more you can take the Energetic Marketing Type Quiz and learn how to market your business more easily and effectively using the principles of your unique type.