How to Address Criticism of Your Clickbait Titles

This article is about dealing with complaints from your audience about the – perhaps exaggerated – titles of the content you create.

In your efforts to produce online content, you’ve likely discovered certain rules and guidelines you must abide by to be successful. Success as a content creator online is in large part defined by clicks. You’re forced to compete for attention, notwithstanding the niche your content aims to serve.

The Process: How It Happens

As you read the seemingly countless guides and tutorials to do with marketing online, you’ll slowly align with the common understanding of the majority of content creators online. You’ll tap into the rules they follow, and the method they preach. You’ll start researching keywords, creating eye-catching thumbnails, and morphing your content to have a better chance of being seen by many.

While you study, tweak, then study some more, you may very well get a little carried away. The game you play as a content creator online isn’t studied and understood by the audience who consumes your content. They’d be unaware of how search engines best rank videos / articles and which methods you use to ensure your content is visible online.

A common complaint audiences voice is one of creators using clickbait titles. It seems clickbaiting falls somewhere between being misleading and truthful. Clickbait titles are half-truths in a sense; serving to ultimately tease the content you produce.  

The aim clickbait seems not to center around piquing the interest of an audience as if they are in a vacuum, but one of retaining their interest from moving onto the next creator of content.

Clickbaiting therefore is difficult to resist. The cycle rages on as content producers attempt to one-up each other with the titles they create.  Your decision to not clickbait audiences may be noble in principle, but nobility in this context hurts you more than aids.

Admission: Breaking the Perception

The critiques you face about using clickbait titles will likely have at least a hint of validity to them. As described above, you’ve likely been forced to play the game of farming more viewers than those who seek to gain more viewers / clicks than you.

As you begin responding to the criticisms, it is important that you acknowledge your act of embellishing your titles. If there is objective truth to the claim that the titles you select are engineered in a way to make more people click on your video, article, or page, it is in your best interest to say so.

The reason why you should admit to clickbaiting is because it’ll shatter the glass of perception your audience begins to metaphorically blow around you. Those who view you as using clickbait titles will begin viewing you as someone who’s bought into a system which they don’t yet understand. That “system,” would typically elicit a negative perspective.

By using clickbait titles, you begin to lose your authenticity as perceived by your followers. Your bond with your early supporters begins to weaken as they see that you’ve grown to cater your content to the masses. They’ll be less interested in continuing to support you. As your strongest, most loyal core, their diminishing interest in the content you put out isn’t a good thing.

Your admission of infusing a bit of bait into the titles of your content will bring you back into being connected with your followers / viewers / readers. It’ll let them know that the authenticity with which you operate is not yet dead, and that you value being truthful with those who care to listen.

Connection: Continued Content Depends on Viewers

Once the admission is out of the way, it’ll become time to explain why you do, in fact, use clickbait titles. Without going into the numbers, earnings, and other details, your goal in this phase is to connect your embellished titles to the continuation of your content going forward.

Depending on how willing your fan base is to learn about the detailed processes of garnering viewers online, you may have to describe the troubles you go through in getting your content seen by enough people to sustain its production.

The fact is that money is often at play. Don’t be shy about admitting this major factor in the production of your content. One way or another, if the content needs to be created, it will need to be profitable. Embellished titles help in that regard. Acknowledge that you’re often forced to try various methods of sustaining viewership so that the meat of your content is not affected.

Connect your act of embellishing your titles to your lack of desire to follow other, more invasive, means of content monetization. Explain that though embellishing titles may be an inconvenience, infesting your content with advertisements (for example) will be worse. Share the balancing act you have to partake in as a content creator with those who care to complain about the titles that you use.

In short, connect your act of embellishing titles to your desire, and ability, to continue to produce content for the viewers to enjoy.

Prioritization: Your Focus Is on Quality

Lastly, seek to divert attention from your titles to the actual content those titles lead. Clickbait titles often signify the degradation of the quality of content. Since somewhat deceptive methods are being used to get clicks, viewers begin to question whether it is worth watching / reading the content at all.

The goal of this last part of the process of addressing concerns of clickbait titles is to freeze the audience’s perception that your content is lowering in quality.

Explain the dedication you have to deliver quality content to those who consume it. Connect how growing, monetizing, and attaining new followers of your content allow you to live a life of being fully dedicated to providing more of it.

Tell your followers about the upgrades you’ve made to equipment, your workspace, and how much time you’ve freed up due to their continued support. Explain all the tweaks you’ve made to improve the quality of their experience as consumers of your content.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.