Let’s start with a harsh truth.

If your headline makes promises that your content doesn’t deliver, it’s clickbait.

If your headline makes promises that your content doesn't deliver, it's clickbait. Click To Tweet

If you’re chasing clicks through to your site at any cost, then you’ll have felt tempted to copy some of the most successful traffic driving headlines.

But this comes at a price – and Facebook are clamping down on “clickbait-style” headlines; meaning even fewer people will be shown your posts.

Click To Tweet

In short, they’re tightening up their Newsfeed values.

What are Facebook’s Values?

These are the 5 core values that Facebook hold to when developing their platform.

Two of them are particularly important to understand when marketing your business on Facebook:

  • Friends and Family come first
  • Authentic Communication

Friends and Family; we know that Facebook are prioritising updates from your friends and family above other posts (such as from businesses, or Pages you have liked). So, not great news for your business posts’ organic reach.

Authentic Communication; that means that Facebook are actively trying to weed out “inauthentic” posts. And that includes (amongst blatant spam, and other troublesome posts), poorly written headlines.

So, how do I avoid being caught by the “Clickbait Filter”?

OK, if you’re serious about providing content for Facebook, and you want to get the maximum reach possible, then listen up.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Avoid “Upworthy” clichés

These are titles that promise some sort of revelation in the article, but rarely deliver.

“This Old Man Ate a Cake. What Happened Next Will BLOW YOUR MIND!!”

It’s all about creating curiosity in the headline, and promising resolution once the reader has clicked through.

It’s commonplace, because it works. It makes people click.

But the problem is that the hype often outweighs the reality of the article.

And Facebook are monitoring the sort of language used in these headlines, so they can throttle the reach of those posts.

So here’s the lesson – even if you have an actual mind-blowing story about an old man with cake – don’t dress your articles up in this style of headline.

No matter how tempting it is.

“9 Out Of 10 Goats Are Completely Wrong About This Jaw-Dropping Fact”

“This Girl Was Asked About Her Favourite Foods. The Third Answer Will Shatter Your Bowels!”

“You’ll NEVER believe this ONE TRUE FACT about lasagne!”

How to avoid Facebook's Clickbait Filter - Lasagne
This is lasagne. Try as you might, it’s not really THAT interesting.

2. Don’t be sensationalist

OK, I get it. It’s tempting to throw power words into your headline. A few here and there are a good thing.

But use too many, and you’ll end up sounding like Dan Brown.

“The One Absolutely Life-Changing Fact That You Never Knew About Facebook Ads. You Will Never Be The Same Again!”

(Hint: it’s not that interesting, and you will be.)

3. Don’t like-gate

“Like our page to find out more!”

Nah, mate. Do one.

(Hint: don’t do this. Not only will it get throttled, it’s just a bit crap.)

4. Match your headline to your content

Once you’ve written your content, take some time to figure out how you can summarise it in one sentence.

The key idea here is to make sure that anything you promise in the headline is being delivered in the article.

Make sure that anything you promise in the headline is being delivered in your article. Click To Tweet

So – figure out what you’re delivering, and then summarise that.

5. Match your content to your headline

Sometimes, you start out with a headline, and write the article from there.

So, here’s the golden rule: if you make a promise in the headline, make sure you deliver on it in the article.

Picked a headline that feels a little ambitious? Change it.

6. Go ALL OUT

Having said that, there’s real value in writing articles that are comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and well-written.

So, if you’re going to write an article, make a decision to go all out.

Be ambitious – and deliver.

More often than not, you’ll find that these are the articles that bring in the most meaningful traffic.

7. Be authentic

This is the overall lesson – Facebook want to deliver quality content to their users.

They’ve designed the newsfeed algorithm to detect what sort of articles people consider to be “[…] misleading, sensational and spammy.

So – decide to put authenticity at the heart of your content marketing strategy.

Don’t spend your time chasing vanity clicks – that is, chasing ANY clicks for the sake of increasing numbers – instead, chase the sort of clicks that actually mean something to your business.

It’s more valuable to achieve 10 site visits from qualified leads, than 1000 visits from people who will never buy from you.

So, figure out what your customers want to know about – and write about that.

Figure out what your customers want to know about - and write about that. Click To Tweet

Give value.

Be authentic.

And don’t overpromise and underdeliver.

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Also published on Medium.

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David has worked with countless UK charities, businesses, and schools - with a brilliant track record of helping them with their biggest challenges. David is the founder of the Impact group - including Impact Charity Advisors, Impact Business Advisors, and Impact Education Support.