Sometime in the early 2000s brands started to experiment with different ways of headline and content delivery in an attempt to generate more engagement. One combination, in particular, worked extremely well, increasing clicks exponentially for articles that used it. The content itself was nothing exceptional, but the headlines grabbed attention. Enter Clickbait. This formula was used frequently for a few years, but then the backlash happened.
Readers got wiser and started avoiding these enticing headlines thereby decreasing engagement. As Google’s algorithm changed, bounce rate became a factor; with high bounce rates causing a drastic drop in search engine ratings. Nothing caused a higher bounce rate than clickbait. These headlines, in essence, promised intrigue and mystery, but the content rarely lived up to those claims. Clickbait got such a bad rep, that Facebook stated in 2014 that they would penalise anyone found guilty of resorting to the tactic. Using clickbait soon lost its charm.
The focus shifts to content
When brands and marketers realised that just having an attractive headline would not do the trick anymore, they started focussing more on their content. The content had to be interesting, easy to read, and informative. Of course, it had to be original too. It was back to the drawing board and brands started churning out content of a much higher quality. They focused on what the viewers wanted and gave them exactly that.
There was content that evoked emotions, got people nostalgic, and of course, made people laugh. Marketing campaigns were checking all the boxes when it came to generating visibility and engagement. Audiences across demographics were enjoying the content and sharing it. For all practical purposes, these content marketing campaigns were successful in their reach.
However, sometimes when there’s too much focus on content another challenge can arise. There is plenty of engagement but none or very little of it is getting converted to sales. This is a trap that brands should be wary of right from the start. Brands need to ensure that their content does not only generate engagement but also gets customers to actually buy products and services.
Shining a light on the right path
Here are a few things that brands can do to ensure that their campaigns don’t fall just short of the mark:
Have a clear headline: While clickbait is a big no, no, there is no reason why headlines shouldn’t be creative. What brands should remember, however, is to convey a clear message through the headline. This is what we’re selling and this is for whom. For example, 10 Tips for Writing Click-Worthy Subject Lines. By seeing that headline, the reader knows exactly what’s inside, and someone who sends marketing emails regularly might click on that link. What you are doing is ensuring that only your target audience takes an interest in your campaign.
Tell them why: While your content should be engaging and informative, it also needs to convince the viewer that your product will be useful to them. Going back to the 10 Tips example. You can proceed to inform your audience how signing up for your writing course will ensure that they always deliver great content. You already have your target audience reading your content, your content has them engaged, and now you tell them how you can be of further help to them.
Clear CTA: Finally, you need to shine a bright spotlight on what needs to be done next. The Call To Action (CTA), needs to be clear and in a prominent place. Phrases like ‘Click Here’, ‘Sign Up’, ‘Download’, and ‘Add to Cart’ need to be right there where everyone can see them. Neuroscience research has shown that people prefer to be told what to do, and the easier the action, the more likely they are to do it.
There is no need to have all your great content go to waste. With the right structure and direction, you have a much higher chance of not only attracting the right audience but also converting clicks to sales and not just compliments.