In digital marketing, content is king. And in his kingdom, clicks are his ransom. Which takes us to the concept of linkbait. Linkbait is content that people link, share, or click because they want to, not necessary because you ask them to. On the surface, linkable and clickable (i.e. compelling) content is what you should strive for as you develop marketing content. The concept of linkbait enters a gray area when you talk about linkbait headlines. These headlines are often purposely provocative, use loaded terminology like “blow your mind”, and pose questions. The concept of linkbait gets downright sketchy when linkbait headlines have nothing to do with the actual article. Which of course is something we discourage our clients from doing. It not only irritates the reader, it degrades your brand over time. (And yes, we realize the irony in posting the most linkbaity headline for a post that cautions against linkbait headlines, but read on, we’ll get to that list in a moment. In other words, “but wait, there’s more”)
There’s a whole science to linkbait articles. For instance, you may have noticed lately that most listicles (posts using a list as its thematic structure) on your Facebook feed contain numbers that aren’t divisible by 5 or 10 (e.g. 6, 13, 17, 23, 29). The idea is to choose a number that sounds like you kept going until you ran out of good ones. Weird numbers also stand out.
Which brings me to the reason why you’re probably reading this post (we want that darn list, Port City).
We ran across a linkable graph from Max Woolf at minimaxir.com which outline “3-word phrases with the most Facebook Shares on BuzzFeed Article Titles”. Even though the goal of BuzzFeed linkbait articles is different from that of our typical customers (ad revenue vs. long term engagement), we feel we can gather some insight for clickable headlines and thought it was compelling enough to share.
And yes, I know that Max’s graph has 30 phrases instead of the 23 promised in our title, but how else was I going to get you to click? (I feel so dirty).