How Clickbait has made the world focus more on headlines than quality content

Embed from Getty Images

It seems we are a generation that are a sucker for a headline and will click links based merely on what they say. We get overexcited about what we are about to click through to and then 9 times out of 10 are left disappointed.

Viewing statistics are King

In today’s world no one seems to care about content and brand, all people care for is views so that they have impressive figures to boast to potential advertisers and sponsors. If I were running an organisation that created content I would want my brand to be known by what it provided, rather than how they sell what they do.

If something is being heavily promoted it is usually because the company behind it isn’t confident enough in the product. As a world we need to become a more discerning audience. I hope that one day that instead of being guided towards things by well-worded links that instead we go directly to the content providers that we value and that we think provide great content.

Sharing content has never been easier

I think because sharing content is so easy these days, there is so much out there and everyone is fighting to get noticed. This isn’t the only problem, one thing I notice on my social media feeds is that someone has been duped in to watching something through clickbait and then it then shows up in all their friends newsfeeds, so they in turn have a look and not before long the video, article or media has spread like wildfire. Hitting a share, retweet or like button I think at times has made it too easy for people to share things and has contributed to the clickbait world we live in.

The biggest and most successful companies in the world are the ones that provide the best service or product. If you are a growing company that wants to be big then you need to act like a successful company in the way you deliver your product, brand or service.

Engaging an audience

As a company you surely don’t want an audience that clicks through once and then never again, you surely want to be a company where your audience continues to engage with you. If you have to hide your brand to get people to clickthrough because you are regularly clickbaiting, then what is the value of clickbait?

You know you are a successful company when people are talking about your organisation without you having to use clickbait. There is more value in your audience posting things online off their own back, than there is in you posting things talking about how great your own company is.

100 and counting

Embed from Getty Images

Last week WordPress sent me a notification to let me know I had just posted my 100th blog. I have achieved this in a little over a year and the great thing is that I don’t think subjects to talk about are drying up.

That means on average, I have shared my thoughts on a subject in the form of a blog every 4 days. When I started this blog, I didn’t know how long I would keep it up for or how regular it would become. I started with one blog a week, but found I had lots more to say than one blog a week, so I upped it to 3 quite quickly and since then I have kept it up. Without fail every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will now post a blog here.

Understanding the world around us

I think the world evolves faster than we can think about it at times and there is so much going on, that you will never be able to have an opinion or thought on everything. That being said however I am a huge fan of people sharing their thoughts and experiences and it is only by people doing, this that we can try and understand the world around us.

Through my blog I have been able to talk with some very interesting people and I have seen my blogs read in countries, that I might never get the chance to visit. That’s the great thing about a blog, it may not change the world but it can impact lives around the world. We all possess enormous power to influence people for the better and I for one am determined to use it to its fullest.

Your opinion matters

For those that have never blogged or too worried about what people may think if they did – I have one thing to say to you – your opinion is no less valid than anyone else’s and by voicing your opinion, you might empower others to do the same.

No one has to listen to what I say, but no one has the right to stop you from speaking. So many people would love the opportunity to speak their mind and speak up, but because of their situation they can’t, so don’t let your opportunity go to waste.

There is an audience out there for you

People out there want to read other peoples stories and thoughts. There is an audience out there for everyone and the Internet, social media and blogs have made it easy for bloggers, to reach an audience and for people to find blogs, which interest them.

So thanks to everyone who has joined me on my blogging journey so far. I hope I have entertained you or inspired you in some way. Here is to the next 100 blogs.

Pride

Embed from Getty Images

A big way to drive traffic to a blog, is putting a link to your blog posts on your social media feeds. Last year when I started the blog I did that for every blog post, publicizing every new blog post on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. This helped me attract a lot of traffic to the site, with Facebook being my biggest driver of traffic.

Last year I however stopped publicizing my blog on Facebook. I kept publicizing it on all the other platforms but not on Facebook, after I saw friends posting negative things about my blog. After reading the comments my pride was hurt and I didn’t feel confident sharing it on that platform any more, as my blog was all about trying to do something positive, so I wanted to shield myself and the blog from anything negative.

Missing out

My pride and confidence took a bit of a hit, my opinions and my blogs didn’t change but I was missing out on a huge market for my blog. My pride was hurt. I talk a lot in my blogs about stepping out and being confident, but sadly I fell short of what I blog about.

In my blog I stand for a lot of things and am outspoken because this is the way I like to live. I would rather be standing for an opinion and speaking my mind rather than standing against something or hiding my thoughts. I don’t quite 100% agree with it but I do like the quote “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” I would also rather try and fail than fail to try.

A few weeks ago I got brave and posted a link to one of my blogs on Facebook:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/kingdom-building-not-church-building/

I was blown away by the amount of positive feedback I got and the amount of traffic that came to my blog because of the link. It built my confidence so much that I will now be putting more blog links on my Facebook. It is strange what a bunch of people clicking a like button and typing on computer keyboard can do.

Affecting people

If I was outspoken in an outrageous non-politically correct way, I would understand the negative response but I just never thought I would get any negative feedback from trying to do something positive. I will learn however, that whatever response I get positive or negative, that responses mean I am affecting people and that is a good thing.

I think we are all very prideful people at heart, but a key thing I am looking forward to master is how to take a comment and use it to help educate me, drive me and improve me. You may not agree with everything I think or believe in, but if you don’t I would be more than interested in hearing what you think and believe in. If we all instead of reacting with negative comments, used social media and the Internet to share our own thoughts and beliefs I think the world would be a better place.

A thought and opinion has more chance of impacting the world if it is shared and if you believe in that opinion enough, what people say about it shouldn’t matter.

Promotion

Embed from Getty Images

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

When I think about my blog and my current book project, that old philosophical question above always comes to my mind.

I started this blog and my book because I wanted to create and share high quality content with the world, which would impact and influence it in some way. The further I get in to these projects, the more I feel that creating the content is only a very small part of the battle. In a world, which is over-saturated with content, getting people to view your content, over others is a very hard battle.

Wishing content was king

When you start off on projects like this, you have no reputation and it is only by sticking at it that you can build a reputation. Reputation is what leads many people to your work and without it convincing people to view your content is very hard. You can have the greatest content, a great life-changing message but that has no bearing on how many views it will get, which I find sad. I wish people searched out blogs, articles and books based on the content, not on who has written them or who recommends them.

I believe there are millions of gems hidden all over the internet but just haven’t be viewed yet. I don’t think quality of content should be judged on the amount of views it has had, but if you goal is to impact the world then the number of views is hugely important.

Writing in hope

When you create content for the Internet you can normally see how many people have viewed it but you will never know how many people it actually impacted. Some people may read your content and forget about it in a heartbeat, but some will have a reaction to it and it may change their way of thinking. I think as a writer online you keep writing in the continual hope that you are affecting someone somewhere with the words you write.

Knowing that writing the content for my blog and book was only part of the battle, I have been working hard in recent months to promote both. It is important to remember that if you don’t promote your work then who will? I wish the world was more organic and I hate self-promoting with a passion, but if I want to keep to the reasons why I started both projects in the first place, I have to do it.

A snowball

I see self-promotion as a snowball. I tweet, email and post about things in my blog and book, in the hope that the people I connect with will be impacted by it and then promote it to their friends. I’m the one gathering the first few snowflakes in my hand but come a few months, I hope there will be a group of us pushing a gigantic snowball down a hill.

Writing something online and expecting people to read it is the equivalent of just talking at someone and not having a conversation. When we promote our work we can help build that conversation and it is that conversation that helps give our content meaning and attention.

International Support

Most weeks I will check the stats for the blog to see what people are reading and what subjects have really engaged them. The one section of stats that I absolutely love though is the one where I can see the countries that my visitors are coming from.

At the moment it seems like each week I check my stats there are new countries represented. It would be amazing if one day the stats showed that someone in every country on the planet had viewed this blog. That’s the thing I love about the internet, how when you post something at any time of day someone, somewhere can click a link or type in a web address and read your work.

A Connected World

We live in a world now where you don’t even need to go to a country or place to have a positive impact on it, which I think is super cool. A world where you can change the world in your sleep. We are a more connected world than we have ever been before and the possibilities to share in each other’s life are there for us to take.

I am appreciative of every view this website gets and I thank each and everyone of you for taking the time out to read my blog, regardless of what country you come from, but it does always touch me when people whose first language isn’t English take the time to read.

I wish I was fluent in a second language and had the ability to converse with people of other nationalities in their language and read information from their countries. I am also pretty sure that there are many bi-lingual and multi-lingual people out there who’s English is far superior to mine, which puts me to shame really.

A Thirst for Knowledge

I am though so glad that there is this thirst for information and knowledge that people aren’t letting language be a barrier to obtaining it. I wish I could translate this blog properly and have it available in multiple languages to make it easier for people to read, as I think that would open up some important and big audiences.

More than ever I think many of us now understand how important the events in other countries are and how they impact us all. The world is also a more open and accessible space these days, so I think we should be encouraged to learn and understand other languages. I think the English speaking world has it much easier than most other countries when it comes to conversing with the world due to the number of English speakers, but I think it is important that we don’t get lazy with it and that we appreciate the position it affords us.

Shared Experience

I wish I could be there sitting with one of the viewers of this blog from another country when they read it and talk about it with them. I would love to know what they think about what I am saying and how their opinion or viewpoint might differ to mine because of their background or culture.

No one person can experience everything or know everything. This is why I am so keen to use the Internet to share my thoughts and experiences, but to do it in a way where I can connect with others and learn from them as well. I don’t think there are many people out there that you can’t learn something from.

To the people who have not let language be a barrier to their development, dreams, opportunities and thirst for knowledge, I salute you. In life there are so many things that can stop people from achieving what they were put on earth to achieve, so for those that push through them I will be forever impressed.

Don’t let language or anything be a barrier to success in your life. If there is something you want to achieve, its time to go out there and achieve the things you need to achieve to make it happen. If you want to change the world in a positive way don’t let anything stop you.

A changing audience

Embed from Getty Images

I wanted to use this blog to pick up on a question that I posed at the end of my last blog, which can be viewed here:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/are-we-falling-for-it/

The question was: Is social media reaction more important than actual viewership?

This question was in to relation to programmes that air on TV as the way we watch and consume media continues to change. Gone are the days where we would find out about programmes through TV listings magazines and TV adverts alone. Gone are the days where we would have to wait until the next day at work or school to find out what people were watching or to tell them about something you watched. Now whilst watching TV you can go online and tell the world what you think of what you are watching and join in with what others are saying. If you aren’t watching TV yourself, you can go on social media and find out what programmes are worth watching or not worth watching, based on what people are saying.

Social Media is free advertising

So as social media users are we all now basically free advertising for companies with something to promote? I think sometimes what we say has more sway than what companies say about their own products and the companies with the products are trying their hardest to encourage us to post positive things about them. This is why I think it is important to use our sphere of influence wisely, as you never know when someone might try or buy something based on something you have said. Your opinion is worth a lot more than you think it is.

It’s like when people shop online for things these days, instead of brands and advertising most people look at the customer reviews. Good customer reviews on leading websites can be worth more to a company than a big advertising campaign. I think as a people in this day and age we are starting to trust each other more than we do companies and advertising, which is an encouraging sign.

Gone will be the day of TV schedules

Getting back to TV programmes, I think the time when we don’t have linear TV schedules will happen in my lifetime. I think peoples TV’s will become just a monitor, which will show the content they want it to, when they want it to. On Demand will just be the way we watch TV. Nobody will own any media but we will all be able to view anything we want at the touch of a button.

I think this will lead to us becoming a more discerning audience, which just watches the things we are interested in and that the only way we try new programmes out is by other people’s recommendations or response. If we hear about something online, we as an audience will add it to a list of programmes to watch and then watch it at a time that suits us.

I think an interesting development last year was the news that BitTorrent was starting to create its own content that can be downloaded through BitTorrent. I think this will be a hard market due to the reputation of BitTorrent and peoples opinions of it but I am glad they are also joining the market.

A change for the good

I think this change in the TV world has been a good change, as the focus has now been put back on the content, not on when it airs. After seeing the likes of Netflix leading the way with its range of original series that it has produced, companies that have both traditional TV and online platforms are now creating online only content and not only that but proudly advertising the online content, using the fact that it is online only as a unique selling point.

I think with all of these shifts there is more power out there for the user to control what they are consuming, so we need to use it and embrace it. I think it is more important now than ever to use this power as now we each have access to a plethora of media, which if we aren’t careful will take over our lives.