You actually clicked to this article based on my cliché headline and a blurry pic of a hospital mannequin.
Let’s figure out why.
I just saw a version of the headline earlier today on a sponsored article and wondered, what is it about the secret, the awful, and the surprising that makes us click to read?
According to Psychology Today,
Humans seek out news of dramatic, negative events. These experts say that our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer environment where anything novel or dramatic had to be attended to immediately for survival. So while we no longer defend ourselves against saber-toothed tigers, our brains have not caught up.
Fast Company suggest several psychological theories that are responsible for getting us to act. Persuaders often tap into ultimate terms.
Certain words carry more power than others. This theory breaks persuasive words into three categories:
God terms: those words that carry blessings or demand obedience/sacrifice. e.g, progress, value
Devil terms: those terms that are despised and evoke disgust. e.g., fascist, pedophile
Charismatic terms: those terms that are intangible, less observable than either God or Devil terms. e.g., freedom, contribution
Headlines that Produce Clicks
The following “you should know better” lines might be helpful the next time you create content for ads or articles. Tell us your favorites.
“TV Host Reveals Real Hair”
Just change up this click-getter for anything. We want the truth. Here’s another example- SEO Guru Reveals Real Algorithms.
“Epic Prank Pulled on So and So”
You could create an entire video series based on spoofs and pranks. People like anything funny- or not. Are you selling facial cream for a company? Try something like “Her Wrinkle Cream is Not a Prank.”
“12 Things Only People with Lots of Kids Understand”
This headline makes your customer feel smart because he or she is in on the advice. It also appeals to those who want to know more about something they lack. Switch out parents and kids for dog lovers and dogs. Dress up the phrase for writers and work or accountants and clients, etc.
“10 Pumpkin Spice Latte Hacks Every Coffee Lover Must Try”
Again, we want to know your secrets. What lies over there in the greener pastures of hidden hacks? Anything “hacks” shows off your trendy.
“The Weirdest Thing I Saw At My Conference”
The weirdest anything appeals to one’s inner weird. Could there be people weirder than you? Worst yet, maybe the stuff you do is consider weird? Use the word to harness your targeted demographic with something the audience does or a trait it has.
“This Trick Could Save You Hundreds”
Because most people want to save money and aren’t doing so, show how your product or service will help Christmas to come early this year.
“New Craze Wipes Out Slow Computers”
What is this new craze that everyone else knows about, but I don’t? New crazes are manufactured everyday because phrases like this one bring the clicks.
“Everyone is Voting for” or “The Numbers Prove”
You’ve heard these lines from candidates and they work for products and services, too because basically few people check their facts. If you say it’s true, it must be. Tell the population this enough and it’ll become fact. Of course, there are a few advertising rules you need to be mindful of and organizations like Truth in Advertising that will expose pathetic claims. The FTC says,
Under the law, claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based. For some specialized products or services, additional rules may apply.
Eh, such a spoiler, but the industry needs rules. Get familiar with them.
What makes you click and why?