The Art of Title Bait

So now that everybody is talking about linkbait. I think it’s important to consider one of the important qualities of good linkbait, otherwise known as Title Bait.

What is title bait? Well it’s choosing a title that gets people to click through and read your full post, think of it as the equivalent of a big blinking red button with sign underneath it that reads “DON”T PUSH THE SHINY RED BUTTON”, no matter how hard you try you just can’t resist and you eventually push it. Creating a good piece of title bait involves a bit of creativity, and style, while not everyone can be a master, we all can get better at it. For example here are some examples of Title Bait I have done recently:

Six Degrees of a Lesbian Porn Scraper. A more descriptive title would have been Prominent Yahoo Blogger is 2 clicks from Adult Content, but well it couldn’t be much more boring than that. There’s no hook, no tease, no titilation, in short it’s just boring.

Yahoo: Yea We Suck and We Don’t Give a Damn!. If you didn’t know what Yahoo did before you saw this it’s pretty hard to ignore. If you did know you know it’s not going to be a touchy-feely love fest, and heck who doesn’t like a good rant every now and again.

25 Things You Should Never Write in Your Blog. Ever since Moses came down from the mount with the 10 commandments people have been using lists for viral marketing. I think it’s hardwired into our brains, use it to your advantage. Now there is some danger here for example “3 Things You Should Never Write in your Blog” is going to have to have 3 things that are powerful for it to be good. “1000 Things You Should Never Write in Your Blog” is too much for anyone to read, so chose your number wisely.

I also like to incorporate pop culture, famous quotes or concepts into my titles too. Change a few words, shift the focus, and it make it amusing. For example “Grandma’s Baklava Recipe” is clear but banal, but “I’ll be Baklava” while less clear is much more click able. “Spring Sunglass Trends in New York City” is clear but lacks pizazz, whereas “Specs in the City” has more intrigue without being too deceptive. “How to Sell Your House Without a Realtor” is lifeless compared to “Realtors … We Don’t Need No Steenking Realtors”. Now there are some who will say your irreverence and sarcasm may be amusing to some, but not everyone gets it or appreciates it, in fact some consider it downright unprofessional. To them I politely say … Bite Me! Seriously, I understand where you’re coming from, and agree there are some people who will be put off by that tone. If you don’t think you can be professional, informative, humorous all at the same time check out the Motley Fool, you may learn a thing or two while you are being amused.

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