Click Bait (or, Vague Hyperbole from Hell)

You see it, all over Facebook stories, ads, banners, videos on YouTube, even your Google search results.

“This one weird trick…what he saw next floored him…you won’t believe what happens next…she is stunned when this happens…advertisers HATE this…restore your faith in humanity…will shock you…” and how many times do we need to read the next reason why JLaw is our perfect BFF? Well, apparently one more time, because I, personally, love her.click-bait

Why are these phrases so overused? And why, oh why, do we fall for them, even if we roll our eyes to the ceiling when we read them? Can’t help it. Want to know. Is there some information in there that I will miss out on? I’ll just peek at it, I can always go on to the next story.

Since it seems like human nature to fear missing out on something (especially something as simple as a short article with possibly life-changing, or immensely uplifting info), we marketers just can’t resist. I see the seduction–you probably can get more clicks, more readers by using the allure of the “bait”.

It’s all about the “mystery sandwich”: you create a vacuum in between the reader and the story. Nature abhors a vacuum, so you suck them right in. It’s emotional physics. Bing! Done. You’ve achieved your metrics.

I am an idealist (sometimes unfortunately), and I like to try to stick to my guns. That could mean with a bit of extra work, coming up with a story that is genuinely readable and gets me clicks, or possibly, not much. Back to the drawing board.

And, since we now have a word for those stupid phrases (that get lots of clicks, yes I know), I would rather not be knows as a purveyor of that type of rubbish.

Now, back to that article: “Watch this video to find the true meaning of life!”

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Content Driven

It’s kind of funny that “content” is what is currently perceived as one of the high points of marketing (especially online). I have always thought it was kind of cool that I provided information, data, tips, tricks, etc. within my large marketing tools—first newsletters from the nutritional clinic, then technical tips and tricks in the Newskeeper magazine from Diskeeper Corporation, and later on video and audio clips with helpful business advice to auto repair shops on the Management Success website.

Content is something you can provide, free of charge, to your customers and potential customers, in order to create an idea of “exchange in abundance”. You’re willing to give away information that others might want to provide at a premium. It’s a fantastic way to create a large amount of goodwill for your company, word of mouth, testimonials, and in the end, more satisfied customers.

Going the extra mile and setting up a special section on your website with video tips or possibly a question and answer forum, or creating a designed magazine that is attractive and interesting to read with useful information can make fantastic returns in revenue—and happy customers.

The trick is to figure out what you have that they need, and you can provide to them for free at very little or no cost to you. If you can spend money, a professionally designed magazine or newsletter is a fantastic way to not only get your company into offices and homes in hard copy format, but also keep your customers’ addresses current. It is recommended you do a mailing every 6 months or so, with a Return Service on the mailer to get those valuable updated addresses. Having that material also hosted in some way online, through a blog or even “web” versions of your magazine is another avenue to providing content. Sharing and re-sharing through social media can drive traffic to your website and begin a relationship with people who then become customers.

Even if you do need to spend money to get this valuable content out and online, it’s money very well spent.

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