Let’s be honest: who doesn’t like a good story? We’re all guilty of having clicked on an article to find out more of what the title of a blog post is about to uncover. As promised in our previous blog, we’re going to provide you with the second part of what clickbait is all about and how it works.
The Curiosity Gap
Psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, George Loewenstein, came up with what he coined the “information-gap” theory. Simply put, this theory explains how whenever people perceive a gap between what they know and what they want to know, the gap has emotional consequences.
According to Loewenstein, these information gaps “produce the feeling of deprivation labelled curiosity”. Moreover, the curious individual – in this case, the reader, “is motivated to obtain the missing information to reduce or eliminate the feeling of deprivation.” Thus, when clicking on that article, we’re eliminating that lack of information and giving ourselves some form of closure.
Numbers and Lists
Italian novelist and philosopher, Umberto Eco famously claimed that humans are drawn to lists because people are afraid to die. Wow, talk about heavy stuff… Yet, we believe there’s a quasi-truth to this, without the morbidity of death, of course! Many studies prove that lists do several things extremely well from a cognitive perspective, including to “face the infinity and grasp the incomprehensible”. So, you might be asking, why are lists so effective? Well, in a nutshell:
1. They often use numbers
2. Numbers also help quantify story length
3. They organize information spatially
4. They eliminate (or at least downplay) the “paradox of choice”
Strategic Content Creation
Any knowledgeable content writer would agree that when writing a blog or article, its introduction should grab the reader’s attention instantaneously. After all, the premise is rather straightforward: if you cannot keep someone interested for the introductory sentence, you have no hope of getting them to read the rest of your article. It makes sense, if you think about it.
Even brainstorming a blog title could be looked at as a form of art, because it’s what initially draws the reader in, and what the basis of clickbait is all about, after all. And while the word ‘clickbait’ seems to be a catch-all phrase and may have somewhat negative connotations, in reality it’s more nuanced than that, and the ability to write something captivating is the main ingredient in the recipe of great content.
The Importance of Skilful Writing
A writer’s basic job is to make stories interesting, so there’s no shame in acknowledging the fact that we need to entertain while we inform the reader. Content doesn’t have to be bland, nor does it need to taste like medicine. Like any form of art, writing should be there to produce some form of enjoyment whilst executing a more important purpose: educating the reader.
A good website should treat its readers like their loved ones, because let’s face it, gaining readership loyalty is much like being in a long-term relationship. Therefore, good content should invest in the very people it is trying to attract. And to do this, it needs to have accurate and engaging titles that lead to quality writing. And while clickbait is a strategic marketing move, it doesn’t simply stop there. A good writer writes with intent and with the target reader in mind.
Rather than just reeling in readers and ‘tricking’ them into giving a single click, there should be a level of commitment in the writer-reader relationship. After all, as with any relationship, the reader shouldn’t settle for mediocre content from its author.
We hope you’ve found these couple of blogs insightful. If you’re interested in creating great content for your target market, be sure to contact us at Fibonacci Marketing. Our dedicated team is always wracking its brain to come up with original marketing strategies that suit our client portfolio.