Please note: If you like the content on this page, many of the pieces on this site have been edited, updated, merged, consolidated, or entirely rewritten (as necessary) for inclusion into my new book series (which also features entirely new content).
The 2014 way of grabbing an audience
- Use sensational titles
- Write lists. And more lists. And lists of lists.
- Keep your content so short and with so little substance that it’s unnecessary to even write it well
- Use profanity to represent passion whenever possible
- Appeal to people’s emotions using cheap tactics
- Create unnecessary or fake controversy
- Manipulate facts to meet your agenda
- Make it “this vs that” & “us vs them”
- Bitch about something people can relate to
Combine all of the above as often as possible.
First it was bloggers. Then it was content websites. Now even (formerly reliable and esteemed) news sources are doing this, too.
And it works. It definitely works.
But it’s also a very quick way to lose the respect of people who realize you’ve abandoned your integrity and sacrificed the quality of your content to manipulate people & gain an audience.
Please avoid clickbait and sharing clickbait. Even if it’s “The one video you must see that will change your life forever.” or “You’re not going to believe what happens next.”
It’s cheap & manipulative.
Do you like being manipulated? Probably not.
But what if I wrote, “10 ways to know you’re being manipulated & 5 ways to fight back”?
That’s certainly a more enticing title than “Marketing and media manipulation“, isn’t it? I get it. And I still won’t play that game (unless it’s *not* a game).
I would suggest that unless you are strictly seeking entertainment (rather than knowledge), clickbait is a waste of your time. And you can do better.
And if you do like it, at least be aware of when you’re being manipulated instead of wondering why you find a source of content so strangely compelling (which begins with my list above).
[There’s definitely a difference between providing quality contributions and simply doing whatever you can do manipulate an audience into doing what you want them to.
Not all lists are “bad”, not all short content, not all controversial posts. But when that’s all a site has to offer, or when news sites start doing it, too, it should be a huge red flag and a sign to focus your attention elsewhere.]