I wanted to let my tip hang there. I was annoyed recently after seeing so many posts come across my RSS feed with extremely specific numbers in the title (yes, I still use RSS to discover content). I know that these are designed to add credibility to the post, and that bigger and more specific numbers are thought draw more clicks.
But that doesn’t mean that I love this tactic. It seems to be everywhere right now, probably because it draws in a large number of links and social shares for those who employ it. Or maybe they are just copycats who see others and do the same.
Just like any innovative method of drawing in visitors, the novelty of specific number posts will probably wear off at some point. Not before it is beaten like a dead horse of course.
What is my problem with these headlines?
For example, here is an anonymized version of the headline that caused me to write this post:
How you can get xx,xxx social shares for free with your next blog post
Who wouldn’t want to read that post? This is a sure-fire blueprint for YOU to get tens of thousands of social shares!
Of course you should listen.
Your results will vary
But the reality is that you will never reach that same number of shares.
You don’t have the same brand equity as this author.
You don’t have the same market conditions as them.
You don’t have the same amount of luck or good fortune as them.
If you employ these same tactics, you may find these results to be underwhelming. Nothing like what their results.
Or you may find that these tactics were a home-run success, amassing more shares than the original article.
Your mileage will vary, yet these click-baiting articles are sharing a promise that no reader will reach.
That is my problem with using specific numbers in posts. It may make you look credible in the short term, but it can damage your credibility in the long run as others realize these are not typical results.
My 1 trick for eliminating click-baiting headlines
And that is where my tip comes in: if you want these article titles to go away, vote with your clicks. Stop clicking and they will stop writing.
Sorry I did not actually write out 32,199 reasons
If you expected 32,199 reasons to hate specific number posts, then I apologize for my click-baiting headline. I never intended to write out that many specific points. I actually intended to make this just a two word post. Then I realized that further explanation was necessary.
I am currently traveling through Austria and I decided to forego an extensive blog post in order to enjoy the sights of Salzburg. Hopefully next week I can get back to our regularly scheduled program.
That cover photo? We drove past it yesterday in Bavaria. It's one of the only times I have ever seen my last name in print, so I had to take a photo!