Who knows what clickbait is?
I do. And I hate it. In fact, I have stopped following multiple websites on various social media platforms because of it.
The subject of clickbait comes up every now and then when I’m discussing online content with clients and I must say, I do recommend they steer clear.
Clickbait is a ‘teaser’ headline or status update normally with some sort of link attached designed to encourage people to ‘click through’ to the link / article / blog post – whatever it may be. Granted, clickbait generates traffic but I am always skeptical ….at what cost?
There are many ‘news’ websites, general interest blogs and companies that post clickbait for the extra traffic. Popular clickbait topics include anything around the vaccination debate, ANY style of parenting, the government and the Paleo Way or I Quit Sugar which seems to be the latest go-to where clickbait is concerned.
I have been following a parenting website for yonks – since our first child was born. And a few weeks ago I unliked, unfollowed and said See Ya after they put up clickbait on their Facebook page about links between not breastfeeding and your kid getting cancer. FFS! Over it.
Last year I started the personal stand I began to take against click-baiting, gently hovering over the Unlike and Unfollow buttons and clicking away – not exactly the clicking they were hoping for. It has been quite cathartic actually and now my social media news feeds are full of interesting, positive and intelligent updates, posts and articles instead of online wrestling matches where people use insults and their poor grasp of the English language to put their point forward about said clickbait topic. Bleeergh!
Rest in Peace Grammar and Punctuation.
I commented on a very well known parenting website last year about a topic that was close to my heart, something I had just experienced firsthand. Within minutes I was attacked by people who:
a. I didn’t really care about anyway
b. Didn’t know me from a bar of soap
c. Couldn’t spell
And I thought to myself, why am I even doing this? This is exactly what the website wants us to do! Pit parents against each other in a bid to generate traffic, get more clicks and get pushed up the Facebook news feed so the post appears after EVERY refresh.
So when my clients chat to me about clickbait, I ask them these questions;
1. What sort of people do you want to attract to your website / platforms? Be prepared for clickbait to bring out the trolls and the tyrannical. Do you have time to moderate that??
2. Are you prepared to lose some of your current Likers and Followers? That will happen. If you introduce clickbait-type posts into your online content, you will lose some of your community who aren’t interested in that style of content and may feel a little manipulated.
3. Are you up for a fight? Get ready for an online stoush. Most of my clients are kind, gentle souls and I remind them that if they invite negativity, friction and tension into their online world, it may be difficult to get rid of these ‘guests’ when they’ve outworn their welcome.
So, if you create online content for your business, think twice about a clickbait strategy. Think of it like playing golf.
You’ll get lots of noise when you tee off but who do you want waiting for you at the clubhouse? A kind and generous community you have generated from authentic posts or a lynchmob wanting to take your head off with 9-iron?