Digital Media, Hughes PR, Media, Social media

I Wrote This Blog Post To Communicate A Message. But What Happened Next Will Blow Your Mind.

If you’re active on social media, the headline of this article will no doubt sound familiar to you. Sites like Upworthy and Distractify have turned “click bait” into an art form with their overly dramatic and enticing headlines.

There are actually two articles on Distractify’s front page today, above the fold, that promise my “mind will be blown” by their contents.

As editor of http://UsVsTh3m.com, Rob Manuel, put it on Twitter: “Despite so many promises I can’t think of one instance an article on the internet has blown my mind.”

These sites use their headlines to demand an emotional response from their readers – be it inspirational, educational, funny or shocking.

(As an aside, it annoys me no end that these sites write their headlines with a capital letter at the start of each word. Drives. Me. Crazy.)

However, while some see these styles of headlines annoying, there’s no denying that they work. Their impact is seen all over Twitter and Facebook as people are attracted by the headline and then share the content on their newsfeeds.

I read a Facebook comment this morning from a user who received 10 times the traffic on their blog post when they changed their headline to be in the new provocative style (here’s the original post, and then the re-post).

Australian-based Mamamia has perfected the art of click bait – with headlines ensuring never to give away the story. You HAVE to click to find out what the headline is leading to. I must admit I enjoy the Twitter account Mamamia Spoilers (inspired by HuffPoSpoilers), who claim they are “Giving in to the Mamamia click bait so you don’t have to”.

What does this mean for traditional news sites? They too are moving to change the way they present their content to ensure the headline is as alluring as possible. While not quite going all the way to the “blow your mind” type headline, AdelaideNow’s “Thirty ways you know you’re a South Australian” is heading in that direction. Not only that, but they have search engine optimisation to consider too: saying “[Celebrity] dies: found dead” covers off people searching Google for both “[Celebrity] dies” and “[Celebrity] dead”.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the evolution of the headline – I think it’s a fascinating example of the way media is changing for the online environment. And meanwhile, it looks like I’ll continue to be sucked in. When looking at Upworthy and Distractify to write this blog post, I struggled to not click on multiple headlines as I scrolled down the page. See you after I’ve been tempted by “The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken That Perfectly Capture The Human Experience”…

What about you? Do you get enticed by these types of headlines? Do you think they work? Or do you resist them?

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Email tales: being so ‘popular’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Alli Evans writes…

Being new to the work force, there have been many aspects that have changed in my daily routine and in the way I approach things. Coming straight from university where I had half a year of holidays, to four weeks annual leave was certainly a shock to the system!

However, probably the biggest shift has been the amount of emails I have been receiving. My naive uni friends are under the impression that I am extremely popular and very professional. If only they knew that most of my emails are internal conversations or email newsletters – not particularly exciting!

This spike in popularity followed by the reality of having to open, read and delete all of these emails, caused me to research internal social media networking platforms that enable quick and easy communication – that don’t leave me with 600 conversation trails in my inbox.

Here at Hughes PR, we all work similar hours in the same office, which makes it relatively easy for us to communicate with each other. However for businesses where workers work on a shift roster around the clock, or who are working in different locations to one another, I can imagine the email “problem” is even more extreme.

There are many internal social media platforms available – such as Yammer, Chatter and Ning, all platforms that offer businesses an area where they can post ideas, start discussions and even host files without clogging up the inbox.

Keeping track of discussions in one place, posting questions or polls, and generally ensuring communication is seen by all staff are obvious benefits. However other features include creating groups for the different divisions of your organisations, tagging people to bring items to their specific attention, and accessing the network remotely or via an iPhone app.

In this day and age, customers expect timely responses to problems or queries. If your customer has an issue but you need to discuss it with multiple people, or discuss it with someone in a different location than you, then this is where these online platforms really shine. Instead of email – where you need to remember who you need to CC in every time, outline the issue and wait for a response – you can post a link on your internal social media network and receive push notifications on your phone when you get a response. Love it!

I know that signing up and learning about a new social media platform can be seen as an inconvenience and it can be hard to convince everyone to get on board, but didn’t everyone think that about Facebook until they signed up? Give it a go, I think you will be surprised at your company’s ability to reply to customer wants and your business’s own efficiency.

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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