The Art of a Good Headline and RXM Creative’s “Clickbait for Good”


David Ogilvy, “the father of modern advertising,” said many smart things over his long career. I think that they all are still relevant in this time and age. In particular, Ogilvy knew the power of brand storytelling and he knew the importance of a great headline.

He once said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as they read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Fast forward 60-odd years. Today, Mr. Ogilvy’s probing insight has, perhaps, been taken a little too far.

While there’s no doubt that good, catchy, headlines are still important, these days, internet users have become increasingly frustrated with clickbait headlines — headlines that oversell and are misleading in regards to the content that they direct to. (Facebook even announced last month that it plans to “further reduce clickbait” in users’ news feeds).

Clickbait Headlines. But For Good Cause.

Digital agency RXM Creative, however, has used Ogilvy’s insight to create something extremely innovative.

They have a project that uses clickbaits to drive traffic to good causes.

This clever agency use clickbait to promote charities, support causes, and encourage donations. “Clickbait for Good” uses sensational headlines to link readers to charities and important causes.

Take one example: “OMG! She is just 16 and she has done things @KimKardashian haven’t even thought about.” This headline (that it distributes via Twitter) links to a Girls Not Brides post about a woman in Bangladesh who was pressured into an early marriage.

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Meanwhile, another headline “Whoa…. HOW this eight-year-old made her first 1 Million Dollars” drives people to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds for childhood cancer.

RXM even invites charities to submit stories to be featured.

OMG, So Brilliant, Click here to check it 🙂

Key Headline Takeaways (including a couple from the great Ogilvy)

  1. Ogilvy once said, “The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.” As he suggests, headlines are the invitation to your brand story and what you pay to earn your consumers attention. In the end, a great headline is as important as choosing the right keywords for your search campaigns.
  2. Having said that, as Ogilvy also said, “Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines… People read too fast to figure out what you are trying to say.” Misleading headlines, unless they are for a good cause, are always a “don’t.”
  3. Use the lingo your audience uses (e.g. professional jargon).
  4. We have more to share! Check this blog post for tips and best practices.
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