Made you click!

And it was soooooo easy, too.

Too easy. Suspiciously easy.

Be suspicious, because nothing good is easy.

The headline style mastered by sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed is parroted by countless knockoff and rip-off sites that barely serve as more than ad revenue generators. You try to ignore them, but your curiosity just gnaws at you like the cliffhanger of a bad soap opera, and then you click to find out that the mind-blowing, unbelievable thing that happens next is a dog playing with a cat. In other words, it’s something you may have clicked on if it said “Video captures ruff play between dog, cat.”

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Well, that’s certainly more interesting than “Scientist’s shirt becomes subject of internet controversy.” source: Jose Camoes Silva/Flickr.com

I get it. Everyone wants a slice of tasty, tasty clickbait. It draws in eyeballs, which in turn inflates your advertising numbers, both to impress potential advertisers and increase current revenue. Begging people to LIKE and SHARE this!!!! can be very effective superficially, but what effect does inflating numbers have if it does nothing for your actual sales? How many of those clickbait views are actually reading what you have to say? How many of those views will become customers? Quality trumps quantity every time!

And I reiterate: nothing good is easy.

How many of us roll our eyes when we discuss clickbait? Although we may occasionally fall prey to tempting capital letters and nonsense inflammatory adjectives, some of us truly hate ourselves for giving in. Now, imagine your business, product, or non-profit’s message was hidden under one of those clickbait headlines. Two things happen: first, your message can be lost because the clickbait engages the wrong audience. Second, it cheapens your message– if you have to sell that hard, is it worth buying?

Take some tips on content marketing strategies that craft meaningful messages without resorting to clickbait headlines:

1. Keep it short and sweet. Trim the fat off your writing to keep readers interested.

2. Break up your post with visuals. This makes your text, and ultimately your message, easier to understand and digest.

Mary Poppins had a point: Just a bit of mixed media helps internalize the message. Source: wikipedia.org

3. Craft relevant content. If you’re a mortgage brokerage agency, talk about things related to mortgages, personal finances, the marketplace, etc. Don’t post a cute cat video. Talk about what you do and what makes you the best at what you do.

And you can do all of that without stooping to use clickbait.