What is clickbait?We have all seen headlines like this while surfing the web:
- Lose weight instantly with this weird old trick
- You'll never believe...
- What happens next is outrageous
- This woman is 52 but looks 25
- What she looks like now will shock you
Clickbait could be described as a modern, online form of tabloid sensationalism. It uses a striking headline designed to intrigue you and entice you to click.
If you have ever clicked on such a headline, you will know that the stories rarely live up to what their headlines promise and can be vastly misrepresented.
After reading such articles, which can often be several pages long, we are left feeling disappointed, unfulfilled and foolish for ever believing the hype. We may also find our experience on the site is blighted by pop-ups and crashes.
Nevertheless, many of us still click.
What is the purpose of clickbait?The purpose of clickbait is to make money. It achieves this by getting as many page views as possible.
A high number of page views and/or unique visitors is a measure of the site's success — and, most importantly, its worth to advertisers.
Advertisers like to use sites with high volumes of traffic, because more people get to see their ads. Websites make more money when they get more traffic, because they bill the advertisers according to the number of page views they get.
How can clickbait be harmful?
If you are considering using clickbait as a strategy to increase your page views, you may want to think again.
It takes virtually no effort to boost substandard content with a clickbait headline. But what does it say about you? And what does it say about how you regard your readers?
Clickbait is lazy
Clickbait has a bad reputationClickbait has become synonymous with poor quality, and sometimes spammy, content. These are not things you should want your brand to be associated with.
Clickbait abuses and loses trustSavvy readers are getting wise to clickbait. Where once they were curious, they are now becoming wary and sceptical. Social sharing of clickbait articles has diminished. Losing the trust and respect of your target audience won't do you any favours.
What should we do instead?
Never compromise your brand
You have spent too long building your brand and its reputation to ruin it for the sake of a few clicks.
Aim to surprise/enlighten/engage your audience
Just make sure you don't disappoint them or make them feel you have wasted their time.
Invest in quality content
Show you respect your audience by providing them with consistently meaningful and valuable content. This will build trust and appreciation — and encourage social sharing.
Deliver what you promise
Follow up by making sure your content fits the headline.
Start by using a headline that accurately describes what your content is about. I like to write the headline first, so I always know exactly what I'm working towards.
For example, if you start out with a question make sure you answer it. If you are giving a list of 10 tips, make sure you provide the full number and ensure each tip is useful and different from the others.
Do you need some help to create quality content?I am an experienced copywriter with lots of good content marketing ideas that don't involve using clickbait.
To find out more, please contact me.