27th November 2018

Know the difference between clickbait and click-worthy content


Compelling, insightful online content should be a pivotal part of your brand’s communications strategy. Knowing the difference between ‘click-worthy’ and clickbait content will allow you to create articles, videos and podcasts that not only resonate with your target audience, but actively engage them.

First and foremost, click-worthy content is built on trust. It delivers on a headline’s promise to the customer and, when delivered consistently, over time, leads to engagement with your brand. Clickbait, on the other hand, swaps the relationship-building part of content creation for the quick fix of pageviews and website visits.  Misleading content leaves customers frustrated, confused and deceived.  

Relying solely on visitors or clicks to your website after an activation or campaign is not a good success metric.  If you’re seeking to build strong relationships with your readers, you need their interest and engagement.

While using a clickbait headline to immediately grab readers’ attention might seem convenient, it not only leads to a negative connotation associated with your brand, it diminishes your chances of your content being shared online.

Essentially, trust is like a piece of paper: once you crumple it, you can smooth it over, but it’s never going to be the same again. In 2017, Forbes referenced a BuzzSumo study on 100 million article headlines. They discovered that Facebook categorises headlines that withhold information as clickbait and demotes the post, decreasing brands’ visibility and exposure.

More often than not, even seeing a clickbait headline is enough to convince readers to distrust whichever website it links to and the brand that posted it. In the case of online videos, the Cyprus University of Technology carried out a study in March and revealed that click-worthy videos get more likes and less dislikes than clickbait posts.

Brands and organisations that once dabbled in clickbait headlines have recognised the greater sophistication in both consumer tastes and online algorithms and transitioned to more click-worthy content. Take Regional One Health’s news section, which provides practical healthcare information, or Virgin Atlantic’s blog “Ruby”, which is full of interactive and insightful click-worthy posts like “Dining with Donal at 38,000ft” and “The fascinating world of Human Factors”.

The path to click-worthy content

Clickbait posts are avoided by customers and actively demoted by social media platforms. The data suggest that they harm brands rather than help them. So how can communications professionals ensure their content is more click-worthy than clickbait?

  • Treat your posts—and by extension your headlines—as the first step in securing engagement and interest with the customers moving through your platform.

  • Substitute headlines that mislead—‘the reason is…’, ‘this is why …’, ‘X will make you …’ etc—for clearer, straightforward titles—‘John Murphy’s response to the latest stats on the housing crisis explained’, ‘Apple cider vinegar is proven to aid digestion: incorporate it into these 5 drinks’. Make it clear to the reader the knowledge they will gain by investing time in your content.

  • Give your readers the information that you promised in the headline. They must feel that clicking your post has been genuinely worth their time, and that continuing to browse your site will bring them even more value. Feed them the information they are there for.

  • Consistency is key. Keep your writing clear, accessible and straightforward. If you are honest and open with your readers, you will get their attention; if you are consistent in what you say and how you say it, you will keep their attention.

  • Adding a human aspect makes a post more click-worthy. Using a relevant advocate or influencer to state why your service/product works for them is tangible, first-hand information. Readers value testimony.

While clickbait can initially drive people to your platform, they won’t stay. Betraying trust and wasting time is not a good way to build relationships with customers.

Creating content that people want to engage with and share is key. Be authentic in your content strategy.  When you’re building yours, keep these three points in mind:


Good content builds relationships.

Relationships are built on trust.

Trust drives revenue.

P.S. Want some examples of click-worthy content? Check out more of our PR360 Insights.


Sarah is a Client Executive at PR360. Sarah helps clients achieve their goals by co-developing strategies and plans while executing campaigns and events. Sarah never begins her day without a scroll through the morning news with a cup of tea.

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