The simple phrase that will make you click

What happens when you analyze 100 million headlines on social?

You find out what people really want in their content.

The answer? Themselves (womp, womp). Don’t worry, there’s more. Here’s the deal --

BuzzSumo just released their report, analyzing thousands of headlines from across social media platforms. The odd phrase “will make you” stood out  - considerably.


Top headline phrases measured by Facebook engagement

As the BuzzSumo writers note, “will make you” is a linking phrase. “It doesn’t start or end a headline, rather it makes explicit the linkage between the content and the potential impact on the reader.”

Now, it’s important to note that this phrase was only seen to perform best on Facebook. And Facebook is actively cracking down on posts with “clickbait-y” headlines, so the message of this post is not to start using “will make you” in every headline.

Rather, the lessons of “will make you” are more important and applicable to our work as digital do-gooders.

Here’s what the “will make you” phrase teaches us about great content, and ways you can put it into practice without getting flagged by our beneficent overlords at Facebook for spam:

  1. It’s audience-centric in the most overt possible way: Using the word “you” makes it absolutely clear to whom this content is supposed to matter. Management coach Deborah Grayson Riegel brings this point home in this great training video.

  2. It appeals to a future emotion: Ok, there’s a bit to unpack here - first, future tense. Putting the headline in the future tense forces your audience to think ahead and consider what they might experience. Focus on the take-aways. I’m outing myself as an “old Millennial,” but it makes me think of the Wayne’s World movie tagline: “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hurl.”

    We all think we’re driven by reason. Ha. Let’s be honest, emotion is driving the bus. So, help your supporters steer by telling them how their contribution will make them feel. The best way to do that? Let someone like them tell their own story of the impact of your work on them. More on that in our white paper, “Getting Out of the Story Rut.”
  3. It makes a low-barrier, high-impact promise: It’s just a click. If it doesn’t deliver, the costs to your audience are minimal, and they can move on to the next thing. Now, for a clickbaity site like Bored Panda, for instance, this is no big deal; there are always more clicks in the sea. In the world of nonprofits and social causes, the stakes are higher. So be careful where, and how, you use these kinds of promises. It’s an effective tool to draw in potential new supporters, but may not resonate - or even be offensive to - your long-standing base.

We encourage you to read the rest of the story here and think about the implications for your own work. But beware! Even the best tactics get you nowhere without a sound strategy.

Hey, we can help you with that. Apply for the first-ever See3 Strategy Summit. It will make you feel awesome (cuz you are).

Author: Miriam Brosseau
  • Audience
  • clickbait
  • See3 Strategy Summit
  • Facebook
  • spam
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