If you want traffic you have to be a sensationalist.
If you're not making National Enquirer tinged headlines or content, your traffic is suffering.
How does that make you any better or different than mass media?
These are the types of Blog posts that get clicked on (and commented on):
- 25 ways to create an A-list Blog.
- The five things people on Twitter will never tell you.
- How Social Media wins during this financial crisis.
- What Paris Hilton knows about Personal Branding (that you don't).
- 5 things you should always do on MySpace.
(all of these were made up).
Being provocative and bold is what sells newspapers (and it also sells magazines, TV show, advertising, etc...). Most Bloggers, Podcasters and individuals trying to build some kind of presence in any and all of the online social networks know how to write (and be) provocative or sensationalist, because human beings react to visceral and raw statements (like the ones above)... and that's how it is in a sea of Blog posts populating your Google Reader. Take a quick look through your own feeds and decide for yourself...
What makes you click?
Better yet, hop over to Twitter. Twitter is quickly becoming the destination for sensationalism. It's being used to highlight the "look at me" culture and the very nature of the conversation on Twitter leans towards encouraging people to click on "you" to learn more, read more, see more, hear more, etc... A good tweet will get you more followers and will also get them clicking on to read your Blog or subscribe to your Podcast.
Let's be honest: Twitter is the ultimate content tease.
It's the "how-to's", the "best of", it's the "lists" and it's the headlines that are over the top, surprising and crazy that get the most attention, reader reaction and distribution. Those headlines above were made up. But let's look at the first one:
What would you be more likely to click on?:
"25 ways to have a winning Blog" or "Blogging is an important tool to build traffic, community and your business".
We're all busy. We're looking for quick fixes and with the tons of content being piled on to each and every one of us everyday, the only way to stay on top or to get some recognition is to be a little sensationalist. We all know that a more provocative headline (or tweet) gets more attention and more clicks. In the end, more attention and more clicks is the same as more people buying and increasing your distribution, which is - exactly - the same model that mass media uses to build audience and, in turn, get those ad revenues up.
Do you still - really - see a big difference between how Bloggers and mass media are trying to get your attention?