It provides just enough information to make the reader curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking on the link. There's a psychological reason why it works. The headline makes people think, but leaves the answer unresolved. Psychologists recognize that humans face “disequilibrium” when they cannot fit new information into their existing thought or behavior. This is what forces people to want to learn and discover new things. Also, when people are in a state of suspense they want resolution.
Especially popular are are those fake news articles that affirm what a person already believes. You see them posted on social media sites all the time about politics, religion, gun control, or anything else that people tend to be passionate about. People like to feel that what they believe is right and these stories confirm their belief. Even if what a person believes is not factual or goes against generally accepted behavior or morals, if they can find some kind of confirmation, it makes their beliefs OK and helps convince them that they are correct. Headlines containing numbers are popular also: 15 Sure Fire Ways to Pick Up Girls, etc. Shock value is important, too. People like to be shocked. Getting a person's hackles up is another good way to get people to bite on clickbait. Anger stirs up a strong emotion. And, here's an interesting statistic: clickbait is 20 times more likely to be clicked on than any other means.
I recently discovered a site where you can construct fake news stories to share on Facebook called, appropriately enough, ShareonFB.
Yongzhi Huang, one of the developers of Fast Company, built a web tool that lets you create convincing fake news stories with which to troll your friends. Simply pick a news logo (Yahoo, Breaking News, etc.), write your fake headline, then put a link to the website of your choosing at the end.
A twist on clickbaiting works for chess book authors. Look at some of the best selling chess books on Amazon:
Kasparov: How His Predecessors Misled Him About Chess. Leading chess writer Tibor Károlyi has written this imaginary sixth volume. In gently humorous – but chessically serious – style, the author imagines Kasparov is annotating over 70 of his own lost games, and blaming all these defeats on the bad influence of each of the previous world champions, providing in-depth analysis to show how he was misled by them. Edmar Mednis once wrote a book How To Beat Bobby Fischer with 61 Fischer losses explained. No doubt there is a lot of good material in this book, but the title is designed to arouse our curiosity.
How To Beat the Sicilian Defense. Gawain Jones confronts the challenge of meeting the Sicilian head on. He has constructed a comprehensive Anti-Sicilian repertoire for White, which is based on lines he has successfully employed at the grandmaster level. Again, this book probably is a good one, but lines a GM used to beat other GMs probably won't do class players much good because of a lack of understanding of chess in general PLUS, I've rarely had opponent's follow the book for more than a very few moves and when they deviate, I was on my own. Even if they follow the book for 25 moves, at the end of the analysis guess what happens? Both players end up playing at their level whatever that happens to be.
What It Takes To Become A Chess Master. Andrew Soltis explains what the masters know and the rest of us don't. Learn these secrets and become a master...easy.
A Cunning Chess Opening for Black. Sergey Kasparov explains how to take your opponent out of his comfort zone and lure him onto the slippery paths of the Philidor Swamp!
Chess Openings the Easy Way. Nick DiFirmian reveals how the opening moves set its pace and tone and can even determine who wins or loses. Again, victory is determined in the opening...for GMs maybe, but non-masters have to muddle through a middlegame and ending where mistakes are thick as hair on a dog's back.
Dismantling the Sicilian: A Complete Repertoire. Dismantling the Sicilian has never been easier. Heaven help anybody who dares play the Sicilian against us after reading this one!
The Caro-Kann: Dazzle your Opponents. John Emms tells us how to stun our opponents with new and exciting ideas! Reading this book promises to leave us confident and fully-armed and will make our opponents run for cover! Who wouldn't want to dazzle opponents have have them quaking at the board when they sit down to play us?
Sharpen Your Chess Tactics in 7 Days. This book is written for those of us who don't have time to devote to long hours of study and is full of easy-to-follow advice on developing nifty tricks that will confound our opponents and help us win the game. Wow!! Only a week and you can play like Tahl!
This got me to wondering...can I get more readers for my Blog by posting sensational fake stories?