Content marketing is all about generating traffic. If you can’t attract visitors to your site, your chances of online success are virtually non-existent.
Yet over the past couple of years, there’s been a surge of marketers and small business owners trying to find an easier route to bolster ftraffic by producing and promoting so-called ‘clickbait’.
When used shrewdly and sparingly, clickbaiting can be an effective marketing tool — but you’ve got to tread carefully. More often than not, clickbait is a recipe for disaster.
What is Clickbait?
You’ve seen clickbaiting everywhere, even if you aren’t always aware of it.
Simply put, clickbait is a piece of content that intentionally over-promises or misrepresents in order to pull users onto a particular website. Clickbait generally captures users with a snappy, sensationalist headline — such as “you won’t believe this”, or “you’ll never guess what happened next” — but then fails to deliver on the user’s implicit expectations.
One of the more popular types of clickbait content is to produce “listicles” that aggregate content from other sites in order to pull a wider range of users onto one site.
Small Business Deals
Clickbait articles tend to run under 300 words, and don’t ordinarily include original ideas or content. Instead, they’re summaries of longer stories or embedded videos that could be found elsewhere, and upon inspection don’t necessarily match their corresponding headline or lede.
A lot of small business owners and marketing agencies like to use clickbait because it’s a super-fast way of generating web traffic — and it can generate results. Industry-specific listicles in particular can save users a lot of time and energy attempting to aggregate information for themselves. The subsequent increase in traffic this content creates can improve a site’s search engine presence phenomenally. Generally speaking, that’s a win-win.
Whether that traffic directly translates to higher conversion rates and an increase in sales is more difficult to say. But if companies over-rely on clickbaiting, it can often come back to bite them hard.
Why Should You Be Careful Using Clickbait to Promote Your Business?
The trouble is clickbait over-promises and under-delivers, so chances are most of your would-be customers try to avoid it whenever possible. After all, nobody likes to feel like they’ve been duped or had their time wasted — and so if you start publishing or promoting clickbait too often, your brand might become toxically synonymous with questionable information or wasted time.
More important still, you could be shooting yourself in the foot in terms of SEO.
Search engines like Google factor a whole lot of criteria into their algorithms when producing results pages for users — and one of those factors is the quality of web content. Every couple of months, Google rolls out a number of updates designed to sift through clickbait, duplicate content and fake news, and subsequently punishes the pages and websites associated with that low-quality content by pushing them further down the results pages.
Another factor search engines look at when ranking different sites is a webpage’s bounce rate. If users click onto a page, identify the content as useless and immediately “bounce” away from the site without clicking to another page, Google generally classes that site as less valuable from a user standpoint. The more users bounce away from your pointless content, the more your website suffers.
Facebook has taken its own steps against clickbait, too. Last summer, the social media giant unveiled a new algorithm update that identifies clickbait being posted by companies, and subsequently prevents those posts from showing up in users’ News Feeds.
Bearing this in mind, it’s worth thinking twice before hosting clickbait on your company website or sharing it on social media. When used sparingly and creatively, it can generate positive traffic that could ultimately bolster your online presence. That increased profile comes hand-in-hand with a number of indirect benefits.
But relying too heavily on clickbait is also a sure-fire way to harm your SEO, lose social media followers and tarnish trust in your brand. So, you really should tread carefully. Sometimes it pays dividends to avoid hopping on the bandwagon — and unless you’re a confident marketer, that means you just might want to steer clear of clickbaiting.
Creating Engaging Content Without Clickbait
In the world of content marketing, there are effective strategies to engage your audience and drive traffic to your website without resorting to clickbait tactics. Here are some alternative approaches to consider:
- Quality Content: Prioritize creating high-quality, valuable content that genuinely meets the needs and interests of your target audience. Offer informative, insightful, and entertaining material that keeps users coming back for more.
- Compelling Headlines: Craft attention-grabbing headlines that accurately represent the content. Use curiosity and emotion to entice readers while ensuring that the content lives up to the expectations set by the title.
- Storytelling: Incorporate storytelling into your content to captivate your audience. Narratives are a powerful tool for conveying information and building a connection with readers.
- Visual Appeal: Enhance your content with visually appealing elements such as images, infographics, and videos. Visual content can significantly increase engagement and shareability.
- User-Centric Approach: Keep your audience’s needs and preferences at the forefront of your content creation. Understand their pain points, questions, and interests, and tailor your content to address them effectively.
- Educational Content: Position your brand as an authority in your industry by providing educational content. How-to guides, tutorials, and informative articles can establish your credibility and attract a dedicated readership.
- Interactive Elements: Incorporate interactive elements like quizzes, polls, and surveys to engage users and encourage participation. Interactive content can boost user engagement and provide valuable insights.
- Consistency: Maintain a consistent publishing schedule to keep your audience engaged. Regularly updated content can help you build a loyal readership over time.
- Social Sharing: Encourage social sharing by including share buttons and calls to action in your content. Make it easy for readers to share your content with their networks, expanding your reach.
- Community Building: Foster a sense of community among your audience. Encourage discussions, comments, and feedback to create an engaged and interactive online community around your brand.
- Email Marketing: Utilize email marketing campaigns to deliver valuable content directly to your subscribers. Personalized and targeted email content can drive traffic and conversions.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your content for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords, meta tags, and high-quality backlinks. SEO practices can improve your content’s visibility in search results.
- Guest Blogging: Collaborate with industry influencers and experts to publish guest posts on their platforms. This can expand your reach and bring new visitors to your website.
- Content Promotion: Actively promote your content through various channels, including social media, email newsletters, and partnerships. Effective promotion can increase your content’s visibility and reach.
|Strategy||Description and Considerations|
|Quality Content||Prioritize high-quality, valuable content that meets audience needs and keeps them returning for more.|
|Compelling Headlines||Craft attention-grabbing, accurate headlines that align with the content, using curiosity and emotion to entice readers.|
|Storytelling||Utilize storytelling to captivate the audience, building connections and conveying information effectively.|
|Visual Appeal||Enhance content with visually appealing elements such as images, infographics, and videos to boost engagement.|
|User-Centric Approach||Keep the audience's needs and preferences at the forefront, addressing their pain points and interests effectively.|
|Educational Content||Establish authority by offering educational content such as how-to guides, tutorials, and informative articles.|
|Interactive Elements||Incorporate interactive elements like quizzes, polls, and surveys to engage users and gather valuable insights.|
|Consistency||Maintain a consistent publishing schedule to build a loyal readership over time, keeping the audience engaged.|
|Social Sharing||Encourage social sharing with share buttons and calls to action, making it easy for readers to share your content.|
|Community Building||Foster a sense of community through discussions, comments, and feedback, creating an engaged online community.|
|Email Marketing||Use targeted email marketing to deliver valuable content directly to subscribers, driving traffic and conversions.|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||Optimize content for search engines with keywords, meta tags, and backlinks to improve visibility in search results.|
|Guest Blogging||Collaborate with industry influencers and experts on guest posts to expand reach and attract new website visitors.|
|Content Promotion||Actively promote content across various channels, including social media, email newsletters, and partnerships.|
Measuring and Refining Your Content Strategy
Creating engaging content is just the beginning; to ensure its effectiveness and continually improve your content marketing strategy, you need to measure its impact and make data-driven adjustments. Here’s how:
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Identify and track KPIs relevant to your content goals. Common KPIs include website traffic, click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, bounce rates, and social shares.
- Analytics Tools: Utilize web analytics tools such as Google Analytics to gain insights into user behavior and content performance. Analyze which content resonates most with your audience and generates the most traffic and conversions.
- A/B Testing: Experiment with different content formats, headlines, visuals, and calls to action using A/B testing. This allows you to determine what elements are most effective in engaging your audience.
- Audience Feedback: Pay attention to comments, feedback, and engagement metrics on your content. User comments can provide valuable insights into audience preferences and concerns.
- Content Calendar: Maintain a content calendar to plan and organize your content strategy. A calendar helps ensure consistency and allows you to align content with seasonal trends and events.
- Competitor Analysis: Monitor your competitors’ content strategies to gain inspiration and insights. Identify gaps in their content offerings and explore opportunities to differentiate your brand.
- Content Optimization: Regularly review and update existing content to keep it relevant and accurate. Outdated content can negatively impact your SEO and user experience.
- Content Distribution: Evaluate the channels and platforms where your content performs best. Focus your distribution efforts on those channels that yield the highest engagement and traffic.
- Conversion Tracking: Implement conversion tracking to measure how your content contributes to lead generation and sales. This helps you understand the ROI of your content marketing efforts.
- Benchmarking: Establish benchmarks for your content performance based on industry standards and competitor data. Benchmarking provides context for evaluating your success.
- Feedback Loop: Maintain an open feedback loop between your content creators, marketers, and audience. Encourage communication to continuously refine your content strategy.
- Content Iteration: Use the data and insights gathered to refine your content strategy over time. Experiment with new content formats, topics, and approaches based on what resonates with your audience.
- Reporting and Analysis: Regularly review and report on your content’s performance to stakeholders. Clearly communicate how your content contributes to your overall marketing goals.
|Measurement and Refinement Steps||Description and Considerations|
|Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)||Identify and track relevant KPIs such as website traffic, CTR, conversion rates, bounce rates, and social shares.|
|Analytics Tools||Utilize web analytics tools like Google Analytics to gain insights into user behavior and content performance.|
|A/B Testing||Experiment with different content elements using A/B testing to determine the most effective engagement strategies.|
|Audience Feedback||Pay attention to user comments, feedback, and engagement metrics to understand audience preferences and concerns.|
|Content Calendar||Maintain a content calendar to plan and organize your strategy, ensuring consistency and alignment with trends.|
|Competitor Analysis||Monitor competitors' strategies for inspiration and differentiation opportunities in your own content offerings.|
|Content Optimization||Regularly review and update existing content to keep it accurate and relevant, preventing negative SEO impacts.|
|Content Distribution||Evaluate the performance of various distribution channels, focusing efforts on those yielding the highest engagement.|
|Conversion Tracking||Implement conversion tracking to measure content's contribution to lead generation and sales, understanding ROI.|
|Benchmarking||Establish benchmarks based on industry standards and competitor data to provide context for evaluating your success.|
|Feedback Loop||Maintain an open feedback loop between content creators, marketers, and the audience to continuously refine strategy.|
|Content Iteration||Refine your content strategy over time using gathered data and insights, experimenting with new formats and topics.|
|Reporting and Analysis||Regularly review and report on content performance, communicating its contribution to overall marketing goals.|
Fishing Lure Photo via Shutterstock