A surefire way to generate clicks: ride the wave of the hot topic. Whatever’s in today’s headlines, whatever Twitter is outraged over today, whatever TV series just aired an amazing season finale last night, work that into your content and enjoy a huge influx of clicks and views.
Here is a complete and comprehensive list of everybody who should consider this method of generating attention online:
- People who rely on clicks, and clicks alone, for the success of their brand.
That’s it. That’s the complete list.
Why should most online marketers generally avoid the hot topic approach to creating relevant marketing material? Here are a few reasons to consider.
It doesn’t attract the right kind of clicks.
Let’s say you sell carpeting and one of your main sources of online shoppers is your blog. If you post an article about Kanye West’s new single, you’re going to get a whole lot of clicks. Probably more in one day than you’d get in a typical month of writing about carpets. And you’ll sell about zero feet of carpeting to every one of your new readers combined.
Your new readers aren’t going to stick around.
As soon as that hot topic is yesterday’s news, all of those readers—who only dropped by to see what your freelance writers had to say about it—will have moved on.
Your readership is going to be confused.
Going off-message to get some easy clicks isn’t just distracting and confusing, it can actually be detrimental to the trust that you’ve already established with people who are already following your brand.
Are we saying that you should never comment on the topic-of-the-day? Not really. It can be helpful towards your brand to let your followers know that you don’t exist in a vacuum, that you’re in touch with what’s going on in the world. Relying on that hot topic approach when it comes to finding new prospects is almost always a bad idea, though.
The funny thing is: posting whatever comes to mind about whatever happens to be in the news today…it’s the easiest move in the game. That’s why the world can’t seem to get enough celebrity gossip. There’s no real competition between TMZ and Gawker and Perez Hilton. There’s clicks for everyone, and since all they need is enough views to keep their advertisers happy, they don’t need to do anything but get those clicks.
If you have loftier ambitions than slinging clickbait, you’ll get a lot farther staying on-message and building trust and readership the hard way.
Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in Bluewater, New Mexico with his wife and his dog, Sir Kay.