I understand. You’ve written an article the world needs to see, but no one’s reading it.

It’s more frustrating than trying to find that left sock, it takes hours and hours to craft a good piece of content but if the right people don’t read it then there’s no point. This isn’t a bookstore, there’s no browsing around shelves – you’ve got just under a second to grab your target’s attention and change their world for the better. So how? Well, trying to appeal to specific humans is tricky. Segmentation by emotional components or more traditional demographic segmentation are two boring subjects all on their own, so let’s talk about something that’s common in all of us – the animal or limbic brain.

Let’s get all ‘sciencey’ for a second. If you could picture me pulling on a lab coat and standing next to a whiteboard and a bunsen burner that would help. When we makes decisions, our thoughts are sent to our thalamus which filters information from all of our senses apart from smell, through to the cerebral cortex. The thalamus gives more weight to certain pieces of information than others, hence we make decisions based on emotion or previous experience. To avoid this annoying filtering process we may focus on the limbic brain, that is the portion of your brain that makes decisions on instinct before that little thalamus has any idea what’s going on – deal with that thalamus. The limbic brain is the fight or flight, feed and…make love response that we inherited from no doubt well meaning yet certainly not the most socially adept of ancestors. You know, the kind who were less worried about their Twitter followers than they were about being disemboweled by woolly mammoths, who sounds cute and cuddly until they stick a tusk in you.

Anyways it’s on this baser instinct that we can likely blame the lack of clicks on our awesome article. A good headline should appeal to the woolly mammoth victim in all of us. We need to appeal to the reactionary portion of our brain because that’s what we’re using when we’re skimming through LinkedIn, Facebook or even our emails before we make the decision to read, delete or ignore.

So how do we do this? Well here are some words that won’t miss –

Kill, blood, sex, war, lust, pain, maim, rip, shred, stab…you get the idea.

Human beings have a natural limbic inclination to ‘grasp and avoid,’ meaning that we try to grasp things that appeal to us and avoid things that present us with potential discomfort. Basic meditation practice teaches us to resist this urge and to ‘ride the waves of life without reacting,’ if you will. But most people won’t so don’t worry about it, just remove zen masters from your target list. The old thinking of making a problem bigger and then solving it does not always work in headlines.

‘Free Business Finance Checkup – Click Here’ – Are you telling me I might be doing something wrong? I don’t need this from you – no click.

‘How to Fix Your Budgeting Issues in 3 Simple Steps’ – I have issues? You’re probably right, but I’ve avoided them up until now so…no click.

‘Blood on the Floor – How I Killed My CFO and Took Control’ – hook me up you murderous finance machine.

Think about how this affects the images you use also – perhaps it’s worth bypassing that free stock image and forking out for something a bit more…interesting.

Will it work every time? Heck no, this is practiced theory not lab coat science but if your content is genuinely good (which it has to be) then a bad headline is doing the world a disservice. So maim them, kill them, lust for them! In the headline.