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What click-bait is - an intentionally misleading headline to an article that makes you click to get the answer


Click-bait headlines aren't new. The idea of a headline, whether on the cover of a magazine, a newspaper, or anywhere, is to get your attention, and make you want to read more. But a click-bait headline is a trick, and a nasty one at that. Don't do it.

If you want to write a headline, don't write: "Guess who just got elected President? The answer will shock you!", write "President John Johnson begins his first day in office today". If someone wants to read more about the new president, they will do so. Note the difference in the two headlines - the first one is a trick that makes someone click to get the answer, the second one is more professional, someone can click if they want to learn more.

"Click-bait" headlines are as old as the publication of newspapers and magazines. You've probably seen them in checkout counters at grocery stores - a strange headline that implies some earth-shattering secret that makes you want to open the magazine to find out more, probably buy it. The more reputable magazines don't do that - their headlines will simply say things that catch your attention, such as "Ideas for flower arranging". The idea is the same - to make you want to open the magazine, and read more, it's just not so sneaky.

If you write a blog, stop and consider your headlines. Yes, you want to keep them short, but if you're doing click-bait (even unintentionally) you will look unethical. So don't do that.