You can’t spend too long online without encountering clickbait. Ever seen a sensationalist headline you can’t resist clicking on, then find that the article is lacklustre and a letdown? Welcome to clickbait.
There’s no doubt your title/headline is important. The term ‘clickbait’ may have been coined recently but the theory is older than the internet itself. The most well-known proponent was advertising guru David Ogilvy, who famously said: ‘On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.’
Clickbait has earned its reputation for good reason, so is it a legitimate strategy for travel marketers? The problem isn’t the catchy title, it’s the fact that the body copy doesn’t live up to the hype. Done badly, clickbait titles disappoint consumers and do your brand more harm than good.
However, there is a huge advantage to writing your titles in a way that motivates people to click through. Here we’ll take a look at how to write great titles that get people going and do justice to the quality of your content.
Get the keyword in your title
When thinking about page titles on SERPs pages, the most important thing to do is put the keyword in there. If someone types in ‘flights to Madagascar’, they’re much more likely to click on a page that references that directly than something like ‘flights to East Africa’. And the earlier you show this in the title, the better.
Don’t fall into the trap of adding the keyword without context. Make the title is interesting to read and in proper English. If the keyword is ‘hotel Copenhagen’ Google won’t penalise you for calling your page ‘cheap hotels in Copenhagen’ – it will understand the context.
Once more – with feeling
It’s shocking how a single superlative can change a boring sentence into something truly amazing. While this might be a bit over the top, words like ‘shocking’, ‘unbelievable’, ‘incredible’ or ‘amazing’ can have a huge effect on the number of people clicking through.
Think about this example. Which would you rather click on?
‘7 facts about Turkey’
‘7 crazy facts you never knew about Turkey’
It’s clear which one is more emotive. But remember, whatever you say in your title must be backed up in your copy. If you say your facts are ‘crazy’ or ‘unbelievable’ then make sure they are, otherwise all the hard work you’ve done will be for nothing.
Incorporate popular trends
To make your titles come alive and resonate more with internet users, you can include popular trends or pop-culture references.
For example, we all know how popular Instagram is and how much people like to take great photos to show their friends, so incorporate it into your titles. Something like ‘the 10 most Instagrammable holiday destinations’ implies to users that your article is full of impressive locations they could visit to become the envy of their followers.
Add a sense of urgency
You’ve probably heard this one before, but conveying a sense of urgency to users is almost guaranteed to get you more clicks. A report by Experian found that email subject lines conveying a sense of urgency got 14% higher click-to-open rates and twice as high transaction rates compared to their average marketing emails.
Again, make sure you don’t do anything too sensationalist, but by adding a ‘now’ or ‘today’ to your title, you may get clicks from people who would otherwise have walked right past.
Add some ‘unbelievable’ statistics
Everyone loves a big number – it sounds impressive and begs the user to find out more. A title like ’10 reasons why the Thai tourism trade is worth 2.53 trillion Baht‘ suggests to the reader that Thailand is a destination already popular with tourists, so would be worth a further look.
On the other hand, when it comes to the price of holidays, low numbers can work well, too. Something like ’25 amazing places to eat in New York for under $10’ will attract savvy shoppers eager to get the best value.
Proceed with caution
A clickbait title is a great way to get your visitor numbers up, but as we’ve warned throughout, you have to keep a reader interested past the title. To have a real and long-term impact, all of your content needs to have SEO principles at its core. Make sure titles aren’t too long and give your reader a true sense of what they’ll find when they land on your site. A bad experience will actually have a negative effect on your performance.
The key takeaway is to create engaging and shareable titles that inspire action. If you’re not sure where to get started, a proven content marketing agency like Ad-Rank can help.