I’m a massive, massive fan of Cracked.com – I have been for years. As an online marketer, I’ve always been interested – with sites like these – about how they go about their digital strategy. Given the types of titles Cracked.com tend to use for their regular articles, it’s quite clear that for them it’s all about encouraging click-through rate (a.k.a. the clickbait), particularly from social media sites.
They’re a fan of lists, so they often start with a number. Over the last few years, I started to notice another trend… In just the last month alone we’ve seen:
- 5 Mind-Blowing Academic Theories as Taught by Classic Movies
- 6 Mind-Blowing Archeological Discoveries Destroyed by Idiocy
- 6 Insane Game Shows You Won’t Believe Were Allowed on TV
- 5 Absurdly Fatal Injuries You Won’t Believe People Survived
Do you see it? “Mind-Blowing” and “You Won’t Believe” make frequent appearances. So much so that – as I type this – there’s at least 432 pages indexed by Google containing either of those two phrases:
Just “Mind-Blowing” = 152:
Just “You Won’t Believe” = 284 (…yep, my first thought was also that 152 + 284 ≠ 432…):
Both = 2 (+ 2 omitted):
It’s a clever pull. “Mind-blowing” suggests to you that you will be impressed, while telling you that “you won’t believe” what you’ll read will certainly want you to find out for sure. Even the use of “you” (rather than just saying something like “unbelievable”) is more personal to the reader, as if the author is addressing them directly.
But 400+ uses of each (or both) is… a lot.
Heck… who am I to criticise? It must be working well for them, otherwise they’d use some other wording instead, obviously. And with over 600k followers and 2.3m Likes, they must be doing something right…