The Donald’s Secret Debate Strategy? Clickbait.

by PR Coach


The Donald’s secret debate strategy will leave Hillary speechless and I’m about to prove it.

If you’ve ever clicked on headlines like these, raise your hand:

Body Marbling Is A New Festival Trend That Turns Your Skin Into Art

How I Turned My Boring Toilet into a Magical Place

Forget Coffins – Organic Burial Pods Will Turn Your Loved Ones into Trees

They’re a staple for the huge success of online publications like Buzzfeed, Bored Panda and Upworthy. For millions of us, they’re a guilty pleasure when our attention span wanders when we should be researching and writing.

Clickbait headlines once were the exclusive domain of checkout tabloids like the National Enquirer and the Globe. Now, they seem tame by comparison.

Donald Trump’s secret campaign strategy

Donald TrumpIt suddenly hit me while listening to another Trump tirade. What happened next nearly blew my mind.

Not to give The Donald too much credit for his undisciplined tweeting but suddenly I realized that his entire campaign is built on a foundation of clickbait.

The very same linkbait that drives millions of spam pageviews online daily is also what allowed him to outfox 16 other serious Republican presidential candidates.

And when the presidential campaign debates take place, Hillary won’t have a chance!

The science of why clickbait works

Like it or not, clickbait works. The research says so.

An MIT Technology Review post throws some light on why clickbait works according to researchers:

“Guerini and Staiano say that posts generate more comments when they are associated with emotions of high arousal, such as happiness and anger, and with emotions where people feel less in control, such as fear and sadness.

By contrast, posts generate more social votes when associated with emotions people feel more in control of, such as inspiration.”

So applying this to the Trump campaign, his tweets and his speeches are charged with emotion, especially fear, anger and Grade 5 name-calling and schoolyard bullying.

And his clickbait campaign is working.

No amount of Clinton inspiration, unicorns or rainbows is going to win over raw emotion.

It’s a dilemma for the Democratic Presidential hopeful.

Write your own clickbait headlines

Twilight ZoneTo prove the point about clickbait success based on the emotion of the headlines and perhaps Trump’s clickbait campaign, I’ve generated the following awesome news headlines using the terrific Linkbait Generator tool:

“Donald Trump bad hair day”: If Donald Trump’s bad hair day had a love child with Satan it would look like this

“Hillary Clinton pneumonia”: Hillary Clinton pneumonia and the occult

“Donald Trump blowing smoke”: Donald Trump blowing smoke: Is it really possible to make money from it?

“Really big wall”: The 10 commandments of “We’re gonna build a really big wall.”

“He’s deplorable”: The only 7 “He’s deplorable” resources you will ever need.

“Only I can cure the problem”: Why only I can cure the problem should scare you more than Osama Bin Laden

“Hillary’s chances”: 5 BS facts about Hillary’s chances that everyone thinks are true.

How to make your clickbait messaging work

Hillary ClintonI think I see the pattern here.

According to a recent post in The Atlantic by Robinson Meyer, the Washington Post publishes an average of 1,200 stories, graphics and videos daily.

“That’s more than one story every two minutes. Could it possibly be true?

Post spokeswoman confirmed the number to me. But there’s a twist—the number includes both staff-produced articles and wire stories, written elsewhere. The Post editorial staff itself produces about 500 stories per day, she said.”

Michael W. Ferro Jr, the chairman of Tronc, formally known as the Chicago Tribune, recently talked about the newspaper’s new digital strategy in the New York Times:

“Right now we’re doing a couple hundred videos a day,” he said. “We think we need to be doing 2,000 videos a day.”

We’re doomed.

Welcome to Clickbait TV

Clickbait TVUsing automated video production, we may soon see the video equivalent of clickbait.

Just imagine if you combine your new clickbait superpowers with one of the new automated, do-it-yourself video services? The sky’s the limit!

It really doesn’t matter whether you’re preparing your next news release, blogging, putting together your next Facebook post, Tweets, YouTube video, Instagram or Snapchat post or pay per click ads.

With the right clickbait headlines, your widgets will be selling like crazy! Blog readership will be through the roof and your e-book sales on Amazon will make you rich.

You’re practically guaranteed hundreds of thousands of new followers and millions of dollars in influencer sponsorships from brands who can’t wait to reach out and touch your new audience.

You might even think about running for President.

But this is a limited time offer. You should know that clickbait headlines are now getting penalized by Facebook and Google is probably next.

If you’re looking to reach the great unwashed, clickbait is the way to go. But you may just feel like taking a shower very quickly after using it.

Author: Jeff Domansky

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