Get Clicks Without Using Clickbait

Tim Burd author profile image

As marketers, it's no secret that we WANT people to click on our headlines. Click, read, and buy our stuff! We get it. But please, do not resort to clickbait to achieve that goal. It doesn't work.


So, the question is, how you can get more clicks to your content without succumbing to the temptation of clickbait?  Keep reading and you will learn 5 ways to drive organic traffic to your social media channels and how to score more clicks without the help of a clickbait headline. But first…

What is clickbait?

Have you ever seen super sensational headlines on Facebook that leave out the most critical information to dress up average content? What about uber-dramatic video titles on YouTube that ultimately leave you disappointed at how irrelevant the actual content was? If not, then take a gander at these.

How many did you click? Oh, come on, admit it. The urge to click some of those headlines is compelling. You just can’t stop your self from taking a peek.


Clickbait headlines consist of words and symbols to entice the reader's curiosity. The purpose of ‘clickbait’ is simple:  so readers will click your headlines, versus the competitors. And, anything is fair game when it comes to baiting the reader. 


Why should avoid using clickbait headlines?

This tactic may work in the short run but not for long and will end up hurting your business. 

  • Bounce rates will increase.

Using over the top headlines will more often than not leave the reader disappointed. When the story doesn’t read as expected viewers will ‘bounce back’ to the Google search results.  Thus, increasing your bounce-back rates. 

  • Search ratings will decrease.

When the viewer returns to the search results, search engines will count that as a mismatch. These two go hand in hand when your bounce-back rates increase, your search ratings will decrease.  

Facebook shared this list of commonly used clickbait phrases. The use of these on the social media platform will push your post lower in the Newsfeed and is not favored by the algorithm. 

  • Loss of trust

Don’t blow your chance at growing your brand and building credibility by luring readers with extravagant and preposterous headlines. 

5 ways to write headlines without clickbait.

There are many ways to write a captivating headline. Here are a select few that I find most helpful.

1. State the benefits. 

Stating the benefit in a headline or caption is considerate and useful for your reader. Considerate, because you are writing from the reader's perspective. The readers care more about themselves than you. 

This is useful because the readers are going to know what to expect when they land on the post or article. Stating the benefits helps them decide to click or not. When you do it right, the reader will be coming back for more. 

A few examples:

  • 5 easy ways to move your readers to ‘yes’
  • How to clearly explain your business when writing your new home page
  • Identify the top 6 technologies to run and grow your freelance business

 2. Be clear, not clever

Being clever is cool, but nothing beats clarity. When you are clear with your headline, it makes it easy for the reader. Anything else requires too much thinking and decoding. Don’t make your reader do the hard work to try and figure out what you mean. They won’t even try and will leave faster than a speeding bullet. 

3. Ask a question

Just by seeing a question mark in a headline entices the reader to click. This is a powerful way to start a conversation, with your content continuing the conversation. 

Questions, especially strange ones, grab the reader's attention and make them want more. Like with all of these approaches, you need to back up your headline with clear, honest, and related content.

4. Include numbers

People are attracted to numbers. Numbers are easy for the brain to process. By including them in your headline, it lets the reader know that the content is going to be easy on their brains.

Humans like predictability. Think about it, when you go out to eat on a busy Friday night would you prefer the hostess to say, “We will seat you when we can.” or “we’ll have your table ready in 15 minutes.”  

Any predictability allows the brain to relax. 

Here are a few examples:

  • 20 Simple Tips That Help You Fall Asleep Quickly - Healthline

Help your readers out by setting an expectation. Most likely they’ll reward you with a click -vs- hitting the back button.

5. Express a problem

A sure-fire way to grab a reader's attention is by showing empathy. Express a problem that they are currently dealing with. By doing this, the reader feels that they are understood. They will want to keep reading to see if you can help them solve the problem. 

Here are some questions worth answering when starting up any post

  • What is the problem?
  • Who is experiencing it?
  • Why is it a problem?
  • How does it make them feel?
  • When do they feel it?

This forces you to really think about your target audience. This tactic does take homework and research but most importantly is very effective. 

Here are some examples:

  • Struggling to Finish Your Blog Post? Try This Quick Editing Tip - Copyblogger
  • That sweating, trembling feeling: 10 strategies to cope with your shyness - The Guardian

Final Note

You can create a click-worthy and shareable headline without using clickbait. Use the tips above to increase engagement from users. While clickbait may get you the numbers that you want, brands need to focus on deeper engagement to make a difference.


If you want more advanced, in-depth tips and methods from myself and other experts, join our premium group at

About Tim Burd

Tim Burd is a public speaker, consultant, and serial entrepreneur who’s been called the “Godfather of Facebook Advertising” for his many years of supporting and empowering digital marketers.

Tim’s Facebook Ad Buyers Group is the largest community of online advertisers in the world. He is the co-founder of AdLeaks, an exclusive subscription-based community, and resource for digital marketing and business growth.

In addition to hosting Mastermind workshops and events, Tim has been featured on publications and platforms ranging from Forbes and Bloomberg to Buzzfeed and Bravo.

Tim Burd lives in Newport Beach, California, and works with clients worldwide as a high-end advertising consultant and business development expert.