How This 1 Stealthy Word Change Slapped On 263% More Clicks


More Blog Post ClicksThe only difference between two of my recent voice over blog posts was 1 word, and it resulted in 263% more clicks for one over the other.

I want you to know that I’m not very happy about this because I hate playing favorites with my voice over blogs. They’re like children to me, and I like them all equally! Why would you play favorites?! Did one of them smell bad or something?

You KNOW how much that messes with their heads…

Whhhyyyyy?! Johnny (in the clip below) from my favorite horrible movie knows how I feel.



Small business owners (like me) need to drive traffic to their websites to help spark a relationship with potential clients. They can do that by creating online content like blogs and videos. But why does some content get clicked all the time in e-mails, on social media like Facebook and Twitter, and in other places while other content doesn’t?

I couldn’t help but get to the bottom of why this 1 word change in 2 of my blog posts would create such a difference in clicks. What I found is actually quite flippin’ useable for creating blog post titles and web content that get CLICKED!

First, let’s look at the voice over blog post titles in question:


11 Things You DO Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over




11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over


One uses “DO”; the other uses “Don’t”.


Which one got 263% more clicks than the other?


Before I tell you the answer, I want you to guess. Take a second, imagine yourself scrolling through Facebook or Twitter looking at all the random stuff you see popping up all over the place, and you see both of these titles hovering on your feed. Which one would have you thinking… “Hmmm… I wonder what that’s all about… I want to read more!”?

You guessed it (most likely)! It’s the “11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over” title. It’s crazy to me that changing the word from “DO” to “Don’t” would make such a massive difference, but it did.

And just so you know that I’m not just pulling these numbers out of my butt, here are the exact number of unique page views to date via my Google Analytics page. In case you don’t know, a unique page view is usually defined as the first time a specific IP address visits your site/page. For example, if the same person visits 5 times from the same IP, it will show as 1 unique page view.

“DO” post: 222 unique page views

“Don’t” post: 583 unique page views


Why did the “Don’t” post do so much better? It boils down to some basic but powerful psychology.


1. People Like SecretsGirls Telling Secrets

Admit it. You love it when someone tells you a secret that you aren’t supposed to share with anyone else. It means that person trusts you with personal information. It’s an honor and a privilege to be let in on that kind of info.

I entrusted you with information that I didn’t necessarily want my mom to know. It is implied that my mom probably already knows the stuff I DO want her to know about voice over, because it is all good stuff that I’m proud to talk about. It is not very secretive or sensitive. But I shared some not-so-great information with you that was personal to me and my career in voice over that I didn’t really want her to know (even though she subscribes to my blog and I put it all over the internet/Facebook). This made you more likely to click. By the way, I clearly wasn’t very good at keeping that information a secret.

(photo by ElizaC3)


2. People Don’t Want To LoseChicago Cubs Fans

I bet there has been at least 1 moment in your life that you didn’t want to tell your mom about. That’s fine. We want to make our parents proud. If we can avoid making them upset, we’ll do it.

People don’t want to lose. Just ask Cubs fans. In psychology, this is called “Loss Aversion.” It suggests that people tend to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. So by withholding this sensitive voice over information from your mom and avoiding making her upset, you are trying to avoid the “loss” or hurt feelings in your relationship. By preferring the “Don’t” article, you are showing that you’d rather read the information that avoids the loss than the information that creates gain.

(photo by BrentDPayne – Sorry, Cubs fans.)


3. People Can’t Look Away From Car CrashesCar Crash

Have you ever been driving down the highway when all of a sudden there’s a HUGE backup? When you finally get farther ahead, you see that it’s because of a car crash that actually isn’t blocking traffic at all. People are just slowing down to look at it. Roland Maiuro, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, says that it may come from morbid curiosity. “The accident provides a close encounter without yourself being directly…put at risk.”

The title “11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over” just screams of a voice over car wreck, filled with information that makes voice over sound pretty dang bad. People may think… “What’s all this juicy voice over stuff that we don’t even want our moms to know about? I have to slow down and take a look.” So, the “Don’t” article may have been tugging at your “morbid curiosity strings.”

(photo by AaronParecki)


Do you write blog posts or other web content? Do you produce videos or audio? If so, tell me the kinds of titles that have attracted the most attention for you in the comments section below. I would love to hear them.

p.s. This kind of information could be HUGE in turning your powerful content into super clickable material. This kind of psychological insight may also be very powerful for advertisers and marketers looking to gain an edge with their projects.

In fact, I’ve seen some clever writers do a pretty awesome job using these kinds of insights in scripts I have voiced before.


Good luck creating super clickable titles for your upcoming online content!

2 Comments on “How This 1 Stealthy Word Change Slapped On 263% More Clicks”

  1. Haha! That’s great, John! I’m pretty certain I clicked on both – after all, you said in the first blog post that next time you’d let us know the 11 things we DO want our moms to know about VO. I wanted to know both sides. But I can see how many people might only be interested in the “secret” stuff. It seems more compelling to most. Thanks for all you do!

    1. Thanks, Jill!

      You’re spot on. The “secret stuff,” as you call it, definitely draws in your attention much more. I am glad you stuck around to read the good side, though. And you’re welcome! Thank YOU for reading. 🙂

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