How to Make Clickbait Work for You. The Right Way.

This newfound knowledge completely transformed my content game. Here’s what you need to know.


Nick Chai

3 years ago | 6 min read

If you don’t like clickbait, that’s fine. I used to hate them too. 

I hate it when they make bold promises and ended up showing me rubbish… 

I also hate it when I know it’s clickbait but I couldn’t resist clicking on it to find out more…

The funny thing is the more I hate it, the more I’m drawn to it. I want to know what makes them so ridiculously effective in getting clicks.

So I studied Buzzfeed’s headlines. After weeks of analysis, there’s more to clickbait than I thought.

There’s actually a way to make clickbait work for you. I summarized all the golden nuggets in this article. 

If you’d like to take your content performance to the next level, the next few paragraphs will be a game-changer for you.

Clickbait works tremendously well because…

It’s unique and emotional. These two combined are the secret recipe to all clickbait. 

  • clickbait isn’t a word or two words or three
  • clickbait isn’t the weird images or videos they use
  • clickbait isn’t the bolded headlines and titles

Clickbait is all about the deep-rooted psychological triggers of every human on this planet. Yes, it’s all inside our heads.

A trigger…a switch…once flipped, unlocks the access to the mind. Allowing you to do almost anything.

And I trust you to use this for good. Never sell or promote s**t to the audience. Deal? Okay, let’s get to it.

Before we proceed, keep this in mind. This is fundamental to what we’re about to discuss later. Clickbait = triggers

The only job of clickbait is to trigger something within the audience and amplify it. Making it so irresistible the audience couldn’t hold back but click.

You don’t have to tell the audience to click this link or that button. You trigger them emotionally and let them do it themselves. That’s the whole idea.

And we’re going to discuss how to do exactly that…

Redefining clickbait so you can embrace it

Let’s first start by emptying your cup. Forget what you’ve always known about clickbait. Your mind is programmed to think that clickbait is bad and should be avoided.

If you’re willing to give clickbait one more chance, it’s going to be worth it. You, reading this article, is solid proof that clickbait can be used the right way.

Clickbait had a bad rep because marketers used it and pushed it to the extreme. Without quality control. In other words, they only wanted your money.

So they used the “secret recipes” (we’ll touch on that in a minute) of clickbait to feed on customers’ pockets like leeches. That’s all they care about. Customer experience is totally out of the window.

Clickbait, like money, is a tool. It’s neutral. The way you use it makes all the difference.

You have the ability to use it for good. You can use clickbait to provide value in exchange for money. You’ll build goodwill and a great relationship with your audience.

I want you to embrace clickbait from now on. Use it for good, and responsibly. With that being said, let’s dive deep into the meat of this article.

The “secret recipes” for clickbait

We don’t want people to hate us for using clickbait. So one way to prevent that from ever happening is to deliver accordingly. What does that mean?

It means if you mentioned something in your headline, make sure the content delivers. That’s the number 1 rule for using clickbait properly. Keep that in mind too.

Secret recipe #1 — A strong promise

We all have a desire. It’s the strong and primitive instinct in our subconscious minds. And this desire is what gives clickbait its persuasive power.

Clickbait taps into your desire subtly. Copywriters called that stating a promise. The promise has to be believable and congruent with your audience’s intent. Here’s an example.

If you’re marketing to people who are looking to buy cars, chances are they are in the market to buy cars. Then, headlines like these would definitely grab their eyeballs…

  • “This dealership assessment will tell you which car best suits you”
  • “Are you looking for a new car? Here are 10 affordable cars to consider”
  • “5 things you should know before your next car purchase”

Secret recipe #2 — Make it unique

This is tricky. You would argue that nothing is unique anymore. That’s where you’re mistaken. You see…uniqueness is in the eye of the beholder.

A thing will only be unique if it’s never seen before. By someone. Even if your content is published, it’ll only be unique once the audience reads it.

Make sense? Cool. Here’s how you make your content unique. Study the competition and do something different. Don’t worry if the competition would win.

Because if the audience likes yours better, you win. If they don’t, they aren’t meant to be your audience after all. There are plenty of eyeballs out there.

You simply can’t force the audience to like you. You can’t. Just move on.

(Not everyone would read this either so yeah…)

Secret recipe #3 — Use cliffhangers

The magnetic pull of clickbait lies in cliffhangers — the “tell me more” effect. Once you hit their desire jackpot, they’ll start to feel all the emotions stirring within them.

That itself is already a strong effect. And one way to amplify those emotions? Leave them hanging. Do this and they’ll click without a second thought.

To illustrate my point, I’ll use the headline and sub-headline of this article.

  • Headline: “How to make clickbait work for you. The right way.”
  • Sub-headline: “This newfound knowledge completely transformed my content game. Here’s what you need to know.”

The headline is meant to attract you and make you emotional. But I’m not trying to make you click. I was aiming for an emotional trigger in the headline.

The sub-headline is where the magic happens. I tell you the life-changing transformation and hint what you should take note of to achieve similar results.

I never told you to click. You did it by yourself. That’s clickbait done well.

The cookbook to proper clickbait

Creating an effective and ethical clickbait is all about the competition as well as the audience. You can never be unique if you’re doing the same as your competitors.

Follow these steps and you’re on your way to getting visitors and prospects like clockwork. I won’t be focusing on the details. You can figure that out. I’m only giving you the full picture here.

Step 1: Study your competition

Not all competitors are equal. Some are top-notch. Some are terrible. It’s your job to find out the good ones and get inspiration from them. Ideas are crucial in creative output.

Things to look out for:

  • the context of their content
  • their content presentation (formatting, flow, colors, etc)
  • their level of engagement with their audience, and…
  • their headlines!

Step 2: Form your idea

If you did step 1 well, you’ll know which type of content and headlines perform best based on the level of engagement. What you want to do is take note of their formatting, flow, and context.

Your competitors are top-notch because they put effort into becoming and staying top-notch. So rest assured that what they do is working. Get an idea of how you can add your own mix into their success.

Step 3: Choose an emotion

Remember that clickbait equals triggers? Triggers are emotions. Take this article for example. I’m choosing the emotion of surprise. It’s a topic that goes against the norm.

I want you to feel like this is something you’ve never seen before. Choose an emotion for your content. It’ll separate you from 99% of mediocre content out there.

(Important!) Step 4: Structure your content accordingly

This is the trick to wildly successful clickbait. You’d want to structure your content in an inverted pyramid structure. You should put the best stuff at the very beginning.

This article starts with changing your perception of clickbait. Instead of shoving it further down, I placed it at the intro of the article. That delivers my promise right off the bat.

Making it less like a clickbait that people will frown upon. The inverted pyramid structure is the key to implementing clickbait the right way. Follow this rule and your audience would fall in love with your content.

Step 5: Close your content strong

Before you hit publish, proofread your content twice. You need to make sure your content gives the audience a takeaway — insights, strategies, or free resources. The takeaway will offset your clickbait-iness.

It doesn’t have to be big or grand. Just a simple takeaway will do. It’s just to “thank” them for reading. This article is a perfect example. I’m giving away all the secrets to using clickbait the right way. Nothing fancy.


Clickbait is a game-changer for me. It can be for you too. You won’t go wrong if you follow the recipes and cookbook stated in this article. Now, publish your content and see how they get clicks like never before!


Created by

Nick Chai

Your sales message is the fundamental key to marketing success. I'm writing to share everything I know about neuromarketing so you can apply what works to get more leads and sales. Follow me for more content on persuasion and marketing.







Related Articles