Don’t take the bait

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By Graduate Consultant Grace Quinn

The Internet is a daily battle for attention.

With clickbait and endless spam constantly competing for consumer attention it can be hard for businesses to compete in a market that appears to be full of illusions, trap doors and trickery.

Chances are you’d be lying if you said you had never fallen victim to a flashy headline, promising to deliver “9 ways to get rich quick” or “shocking celebrity secrets” only to be disappointed by the content you found behind that one singular click.

You feel cheated, but mostly annoyed with yourself for once again taking the bait.

In the midst of your frustration you quite often find yourself questioning whether those types of articles ever really generate any real worth to businesses and more importantly you question where all the quality online content is hiding.

In both life and business we are frequently conflicted with the decision of choosing quality VS quantity, but is it really ever that simple?

Many new age businesses place significant value on click rates and surface metrics, evaluating their entire online presence based on a few statistics and figures. This can create substantial pressure to maximise clicks, likes and page views. The demand for mass quantity doesn’t come without a cost and for most businesses that cost is quality – and alas the click bait revolution was born.

Clickbait is defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as “content that’s main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.”

Sound familiar?

Businesses which use deceiving headlines to drive traffic to their website, blog or social media will no doubt have impressive analytics, but is this really a true reflection of consumer satisfaction?

Last Thursday Facebook announced they will be changing their algorithm in attempt to eliminate clickbait. The company, fed up with thousands of daily complaints, has created a new system that identifies and classifies such headlines. It can now determine which pages or web domains post large amounts of clickbait and rank them lower in News Feed. This goes to show it’s not necessarily about how many people you reach, it’s about how many you connect with.

When people connect with you, they remember you, come back for more, trust what you have to say and may eventually become a client. If your content doesn’t provide any value, nobody will care (harsh, but true).

Now I am by no means suggesting that quantity doesn’t matter, it certainly plays a key role. Without quantity, you will not be able to create a constant flow of content to attract the right audience, especially when it comes to social media. What I am suggesting however, is that luring readers with flashy headlines or making promises you can’t fulfil is not a sustainable business option, in fact it will probably come back to bite you.

So remember, just because your content didn’t go viral it doesn’t mean you have been forgotten, click rates will dissipate but quality content has the ability to make a lasting impression.

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