Content marketing should always be done with a purpose.

Some objectives can be:

  • Ranking on search engines
  • Establishing authority and credibility in your sector
  • Educating or entertaining your current customers
  • Engaging a loyal community
  • Creating discussion about your brand
  • Brand awareness

Notice how tricking people into clicking a link to a blog post is not on that list.

The Oxford Dictionary defines clickbait as “content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.” It’s like the catfishing* of content.

It’s creating a sensationalist headline just to get people to read your stuff. Buzzfeed and Upworthy are masters of this technique, using things like “you won’t believe what happened next” in their headlines to awaken people’s curiosity.

Clickbait is a psychological tactic that plays with the curiosity gap. George Lownestein’s “the information gap theory of curiosity” says that people basically go nuts when they realize there is something they don’t know. It’s a knowledge FOMO.

Social networks like Facebook aren’t having it. They have entire departments dedicated to eradicating clickbait and fake news.

The reason? It withholds information from the reader. Strong headlines should inform search engines, but more importantly the reader, about what is contained in the blog post. To Facebook, clickbait headlines like “you’ll be shocked at the results” is an indicator of low-quality posts.

They’re interested in posts that create meaningful interactions.

And brands should look for meaningful interactions too. Not only to outsmart the Facebook algorithm, but also because it is the path to customer loyalty.


Clickbait attracts the wrong people

People who fall for the clickbait aren’t interested in the content and they certainly didn’t find it because they were looking for it. Building customer loyalty requires creating content that helps, educates or entertains your customers.

It does work to attract visitors to your page. And although you do want to draw people to your website, it’s better to attract the right kind of traffic.


Clickbait increases bounce rates

People didn’t come to your page to learn, they came because they were curious about the headline that popped up on their social media.

In the long run, clickbait articles aren’t written to evoke deep and thoughtful conversation. It’s not written to educate or even entertain its readers. Its sole purpose is to get people to click on the link. As such, people don’t tend to stay on the page for very long.


Clickbait loses audience trust

People will start to associate your clickbait articles with spam; an online tabloid magazine,if you will.


Focus on quality content

An ideal content marketing strategy is to create long-form, comprehensive, and useful content. If you really want people to click on it, work with brand ambassadors, influencers, or even reward your own customers for sharing your content.

If people see content shared by their own family or friends, they’ll read it. You don’t need to trick them into it.

Curious about how to get your customers to share your content? Check out our article on creating loyalty programs based on engaging with your content.

*Catfishing: Pretending to be someone you aren’t to trick someone into starting a relationship with you.