To target high-value customers, brands must stop producing clickbait content.
In his TIME magazine article, Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile claims that content marketers have gotten a lot of things wrong. He cited logical, evidence-based data to back him up as he, with good reason, criticized writers and editors’ obsession with web traffic.
Haile challenged marketers and brand strategists with a question that’s impossible to avoid: in a “short-attention world,” how can content marketing still work?
The rise of clickbait content
It’s indeed because of the audience’s plummeting attention span that marketers started to resort to clickbait strategies.
Marketers only have nine precious seconds to captivate their target readers before they start slipping away. In their desperation, brands started writing shorter articles, uploading memes and GIFs, and literally any form of content can be crammed into the impossibly short window they were given. To top it off, these kinds of content are the ones that generate clicks, which means more web traffic.
That’s great, right?
Even social media shares aren’t that reliable, as a lot of people hit the share button without even reading or viewing the web content.
On the surface, sure, it is. The problem with it is that brands are falling short of creating the much-needed value that the audience craves. So what we have is a bunch of potential customers who don’t evolve into loyal ones because they care only about what the brand says (read: entertainment value) and not about who the brand really is (read: building great relationships).
The result? On the upside, high clickthrough rates and great exposure. On the downside, brands end up with poor lead generation and low audience engagement.
Plan more, publish less.
The allure of click-driven content marketing is undeniably strong, but most brands would agree that quality relationships with high-value prospects would always beat popularity.
Content marketers, therefore, have a responsibility to encourage customers to move past content shock, or the inability to consume too much media, by delivering valuable and relevant content—one that people actually take time to read or view, comment on, and share.
1. Target high-value customers.
Picture your ideal customers—who they are, what they do, what makes them ideal, and the types of content that would work on them. Your content strategy must be built around all these things, so make sure that everything you publish has a clearly defined purpose. Carefully choose and plan out the effective topics and the form your message would take.
2. Produce data-driven, journalistic content.
Click-magnet content will always have a place in your content marketing plan, perhaps to introduce your brand or encourage customers to get to know you even more. And that’s where longer-form, higher-value content comes in. Creating data-driven and journalistic content might mean posting fewer articles than usual, but this way, you’ll eventually gain credibility and authority in your industry.
3. Monitor engagement, not clicks.
More often than we think, numbers lie. High clickthrough rates and surging web traffic don’t always equate to high engagement. Even social media shares aren’t that reliable, as a lot of people hit the share button without even reading or viewing the web content. However, if people are talking about what you published, that means you’ve caught their attention.
A marketing strategy that brings you closer to your business goals is a winning strategy. Thus, every piece of content you produce must reflect who you are as a brand and give customers a sneak peek of the value you can promise to them. As more and more brands recognize that clickbait, low-value content will always fail to do this, we might gradually see a shift from web traffic–oriented marketing into a value-creating one.