I’ve often written that using a linkbait is like signing a contract with your readers. You’re luring them in with the promise of a reward at the end of the hook. Sometime you can give people what you promise but it’s not in a soundbite format and your readers feel like they never got the payoff.
Case and Point – Inside The World’s First Billion-Dollar Home
It’s not until the third paragraph that there’s a payoff in this sentence and when it comes it’s not really strong nor quoteable:
Plans were then drawn up for what will be the world’s largest and most expensive home: a 27-story skyscraper in downtown Mumbai with a cost nearing $2 billion, says Thomas Johnson, director of marketing at Hirsch Bedner Associates. The architects and designers are creating as they go, altering floor plans, design elements and concepts as the building is constructed.
My suggestion is actually a twitter post from Gabe Rivera of Techmeme to Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester about how journalists should write for the web, what even more amazing is it’s less than 140 characters
@jowyang Journalists should write for an imagined reader uberdistracted with browser windows, email, chat, and real life. I.e., not captive.
Not every article on the web has to be linkbait, but if your title is linkbait and your article isn’t, your piece will fail and, and your readers will leave feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.