Are You a Sucker for Linkbait?

This video will make you cry harder than ever before… and then laugh.

48 life-altering hacks that you can learn in 10 minutes.

The most beautiful photo you’ll ever see of goblins.

Like a bug to a light, I click these links. Every. Single. Time.

Ah! I think. That wasn’t really the one photo that would forever change my life. As though I expected something else to be the outcome.

Naturally, I’m not the only one who does this. Throngs of people click on his type of linkbait every day, catapulting sites like Upworthy and ViralNova to site traffic heights unseen by the likes of us plebes.

I see these everywhere! Your boss says. If we have headlines like this we’ll get tons of traffic and sales will skyrocket! Start today!

But here’s the catch… You must deliver.

Sure, throwing linkbait once in a while will drive traffic to your obviously-optimized-for-bottomline-sales-site, but if you consistently let the customer down, you’re delivering a negative experience. And while minor, these repeated negative experiences lead to a weaker brand.

Sites using linkbait know this. Upworthy used to simply track clicks, but the company is now delving into the time spent on the site after the click – the only real way to monetize the site (other than selling their questionably loyal following). Clicks alone don’t tell the whole story.

These seemingly overnight viral sensations are anything but. Those Buzzfeed quizzes that popped out of nowhere? Those were the result of SIX YEARS of work and planning by a team of Buzzfeed staffers. Yeeeesh – talk about not overnight.

So what can you learn from the lure of linkbait? 1) Keep your content fresh, 2) Use visuals, and 3) Employ lists because people love them 😉

Linkbait titles are hot right now, but in the end, time-tested rules of content are what prop them up. 

This article was originally posted at IntheCapital.

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