Stop-What-Youre-Doing-and-Read-This-Life-Changing-Click-Bait-ArticleDid the headline grab your attention? A few readers in the audience probably smirked or grimaced in response to seeing it, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. The increase in the potential of social content, and particularly socially exciting content, has seen a rise in click bait articles and headlines over the past couple of years.

Sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy have made their hay on these articles, with other popular sites soon following in their wake and doing everything that they can to make each and every story sound like a sensational, unbelievable tale of woe, triumph, and everything in between.

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Short answer?: Yes and no. Using click bait headlines and titles for articles can seem like a winning idea for some, but they aren’t always going to be your best strategy outside of traditional SEO and PPC techniques to get a campaign going.

  • Click bait relies on trust. It even seems counter intuitive to say so, until you consider that the bread and butter of a click bait article is whether or not it will be shared on social media. A vast majority of incoming traffic for these types of articles will come from individual traffic off-site, and not from homepages or news feeds. That means recommendations, which means that the content should actually be reliable to its title, or at least, entertaining enough to be shared.
  • You don’t get too many chances. As mentioned, trust plays a big role. If you burn your readership with a headline that is far too sensational for its actual content, you are going to negatively impact the site as a whole. It’s going to see fewer recommendations, and may even become associated with poorly researched and sourced, tabloid-style news and articles.
  • It isn’t a replacement for actual content, and it is a gimmick. That means that it has limited use as a whole, not just by one site. Now that there are already titans of click bait articles and information out there, your chance of entering the market and grabbing a share sizable enough to be considered a worthy ROI dwindle by the day. Capturing the fundamentals of search engine optimization needs to be your priority first; quality content and organized page structures do not go out of style.

In closing, you can’t entirely condemn click bait; it is very effective toward its purpose, and it can have a place within greater marketing campaigns when handled properly. More often than not, it’s something that should be in the hands of social media experts.