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A weird word, isn’t it?

It’s included in the latest versions of Webster’s and Microsoft Word hasn’t labeled the term a misspelling, so the staff here at Midnight Publishing can assume that the word—and the concept—are here to stay.

But what is “clickbait,” exactly? For anyone who might not have grown up in the era of smartphones, YouTube, social media, and Facebook updates 24/7, it can seem like quite a foreign idea (and even if you have, those without a finger on the pulse of modern-day marketing still might be in the dark about such a thing). At Midnight Publishing, an award-winning Phoenix-based editing, writing, and marketing company, it’s a huge part of our job to not only enable our clients to query and publish the best work possible but also, to grow an author platform and readership.

One of the best ways to do this is by updating your social media accounts and blogs frequently with relevant, interesting, and entertaining content—and one of the many tools you can utilize to catch the eye of potential readers is with an interesting headline, or “clickbait.”

#Authors, get more readership. 3 ways to create #clickbait headlines. Click To Tweet

NOW, Midnight Publishing is not suggesting that you create a false or misleading title for content that leaves the reader confused or unsatisfied; sometimes, the term “clickbait” can be equated with such a strategy, and we don’t support that. However, it is important to utilize every skillset possible to catch, maintain and ultimately convert casual browsers into newsletter subscribers and readers of your books.

Below are Midnight Publishing’s tips for crafting a “clickbait-style” headline/post to increase reader awareness and interest:

1. Use Numerals

Notice how we stated “3 Ways to Use Clickbait…” People are being pulled in about two hundred different directions online, and you really only get their attention for a few seconds before they’re on to something new. The best way to entice someone is with a number—they already know it’s short and sweet (“3 ways”), so it’ll be easy to get through and digest.

2. Offer Tips

Another way to direct readers to your content is by notifying them immediately regarding what they’ll get out of it, and wording it in a clear, enticing way. Personal anecdotes are fine, but it’s much better to say something like “10 Reasons Harry Potter Will Change Your Life” than simply “Harry Potter Changes Lives.” Be specific, humorous and concise.

3. Sensationalize (But Do It Wisely)

Harkening back to what we discussed before about creating misleading titles, this is not the same thing; there should always be truth in your headlines, but that doesn’t mean they need to be boring. Trending topics and crowd favorites like cute animals and celebrities are always going to be attention-grabbers; any time you can incorporate a popular subject into your headline, it’s going to instigate clicks.

Let’s show you some examples of “clickbait” headlines versus less effective ones:



Less effective headline:

“Dating Writers Can Be Awesome, and Here’s Why”

Clickbait headline:

“8 Reasons Why You Should Date Writers and Where to Find Them”



Less effective headline:

“I Went to Disneyland and Saw These Things”

Clickbait headline:

“These 3 Sights in Disneyland Will Change Your Life Forever”



Less effective headline:

“Cute Animals Can Make Your Monday Better”

Clickbait headline:

“10 Baby Animals Having a Better Monday Than You”


Check out some successful pop culture websites like Buzzfeed, PopSugar, Upworthy and The Onion to see more examples of successful clickbait headlines, and then contact Midnight Publishing to discuss your upcoming writing projects, marketing needs and ways we can help you in the publishing industry! Midnight Publishing: Established in 2007 and trusted with over five million words so far.