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The Clickbait Headline: Check Yours Using Jesus’s Test

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. (Matthew 7:17, NLT)

The Clickbait Headline: a #devotional for #writers based on Matt 7:17 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #ContentMarketing #Headlines

A Word For Writers

  • “You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next …”
  • “This One Trick Fixed Everything …”

You’ve seen it: the clickbait headline. Maybe you even succumbed to it by passing your mouse over the link and giving it a tap. (I have.)

But what happens once your browser takes you to The Amazing Solution pledged in the headline?

You’re disappointed. The clickbait headline promised too much and doesn’t deliver. Or, the clickbait headline promised one thing and serves up content that addresses a completely different topic.

A clickbait headline is much like false teaching – ideas that add to, take away from, contradict, or invalidate God’s Word. False teaching lures people away from the truth.

Jesus provides a helpful test: look at the fruit. As in the fruit of your headline – the content that follows it.

If your headline promises too much and doesn’t deliver in the content – or delivers something entirely different – then it’s clickbait. When that’s the case, it’s time to rewrite.

But if your headline leads the reader to “good fruit” – good, helpful, truthful, valuable content that delivers on what you promised –it passes the test.

A Wise Word

Your content must deliver what your headline promises.

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

You tell me to test what I hear in order to know the truth. Help me also to test what I write. I don’t want to lead readers astray, but rather point to your truth.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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