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You Won’t Believe the Ways Clickbait is Killing Your Business!

I bet you rolled your eyes when you read that title. I know I did just writing it. And so will your clients.

In short…clickbait—those catchy headlines that are just begging you to click them with ‘too crazy to be true’ content—is just plain awful. Why are so many companies, “news outlets”, and organizations choosing to employ these skeevy tactics? Because it’s easy and alluring. Remember those tabloids of early 90s? Welcome to the tabloid of the new millennium. What these organizations fail to recognize is the fact that people are becoming increasingly savvy and can spot clickbait from a mile away—leading to a less-than-impressed audience, a staunch group of boisterous critics, and a loss in brand loyalty.

Here’s something to ponder. Say you invested some of your hard-earned cash and priceless time going to a movie solely based on the crazy, action packed previews, only to realize that this hardcore, shoot-‘em-up was nothing more than a standard romantic comedy laced with a brief cameo by the Rock? You’d demand your money back, set out on a twitter-rampage, and lose a sense of trust in that studio. Who pays the price in the end? The studio.

Clickbait brings about the same nauseating, anger-inducing response to your brand.

Hand on computer mouse

What else does clickbait do to your marketing capital?

Loss of credibility and authenticity is a major reason to JUST SAY NO. In content marketing, it’s important that the blog posts, videos, social posts, and articles you put out into the universe position you as a thought leader and a trusted brand. Clickbait kills any chance of developing credibility, only conveying that you can’t deliver on your promises.

Click bait also makes your audience angry. Generally speaking, people are pretty savvy when it comes to the content on the Internet. In an age of “fake news” and satire sites, people have grown accustomed to reading things with a grain of salt. Readers will immediately realize there is no substance behind your catchy phrases, and they will tune you out. Angry audiences tend to share those feelings of injustice and pretty soon you’ll start losing loyal brand constituents and access to a prospective audience.

Perhaps you aren’t concerned about your credibility or can’t empathize with your angry audience? Let’s talk data. SEO (search engine optimization) is a key metric in ensuring that the content you put those solid man (or woman) hours into is actually picked up in the digital abyss. If the content of your post has no correlation to the title, your SEO suffers. The computer is smart, and the algorithms are near perfect. Your content will get lost in the sea of Google searches, simply because you chose some baseless, gilded title. Not cool.

Even more problematic is the potential to attract the wrong visitors to your site. You want a loyal following, but if you’re putting out random headlines and titles only to draw people in, you aren’t going to build a legitimate audience. It goes completely against the idea of building up a long-term funnel of readership. You may end up getting thousands of clicks a day, but you won’t be converting any readers into brand loyalists. Your data will get skewed, making it more difficult to identify and maintain a core audience. What’s the point in that?

So how can you avoid clickbait, and still generate clicks for your content?

Here’s a thought: Be genuine…

When you choose authenticity over “shock value,” you create a genuine connection with an engaged audience. People can sense feigned content from a mile away—you will be called out in a very social business world. Don’t post content that doesn’t speak to your brand’s identity!

Don’t make it harder on yourself: Pay attention to keywords…

Review your content. What are some themes, phrases, or repetitive words that stand out? Take those elements and generate a title based around those keywords. Not only is that going to boost your SEO, it prevents audience let-down, and positions you as a brand that delivers.

Now you’re ready to start generating thought-provoking content that will authentically engage with your audience. Your content is your voice and a representation of your brand. Choose to be a thought leader, not a thought imposter. No one likes a poser.