Content marketing. Going beyond clickbait.

If we’re being honest, clickbait is a tempting content marketing strategy for marketers. Newspapers and media use it with enormous success, even changing news titles multiple times a day to get more traffic in (combining it with a paywall to get the subscribers in). But brands are rarely newspapers. There are other factors to consider. Like brand values, customer expectations, and internal standards.

In short
  1. Clickbait in content marketing: short-term gains, long-term issues.
  2. Build around your brand values, it’s your cornerstone of authenticity.
  3. Create for an actual audience.
  4. Always choose quality over quantity.
  5. Authentic content for sustainability and employer branding.

The long-term perils of clickbait

Clickbait is an attention-grabber and can generate traffic, leads or revenue. It can provide that short-term boost you might need to improve your quarterly results or kickstart a long-term project to garner enthusiasm from your team. In such cases, clickbait might be what you need. 

However, there’s a distinction between using clickbait for a short-term boost and adopting it as a long-term strategy. When you make clickbait a cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, you risk undermining the trust your audience places in your brand. People may become disillusioned, subconsciously attaching less value to your brand. Consequently, when you genuinely have something significant to tell, you may struggle to get the attention you want.

"You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time."
Abraham Lincoln

Building upon your brand values

Your brand values are your reason for existence, it’s what differentiates you from your competition. Your content should reflect those values. Creating an additional level of authenticity that resonates with your audience. However in reality, the further marketers progress with execution, the less impact these brand values seem to have.

This makes sense. It’s a long journey from the establishment of these brand values to an internal project aimed at ‘increasing traffic to the company website’. The pressure of targets or continuous improvements is often interpreted as: ‘By any means necessary’.

A content strategy that embodies your brand values has a considerably greater influence over your target audience. It also reflects upon other channels and the various ways in which you communicate with them. This content strategy will amplify reach, boost engagement and ultimately, enhance impact and performance.

Don’t forget your audience

We must never forget that we are creating content for people, not for bots, spiders or algorithms. In his book “StoryBrand,” Donald Miller writes: “In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.” When content and brand are not aligned, when commercial and contextual content clash, how can this ever exert a positive long-term influence on your customers?

Consider the substantial effort invested in building a brand to make it as appealing as possible to your target audience. Your content marketing can either reinforce that effort or gradually erode it. The effort, research, workshops, and brainstorming that go into brand creation should, at the very least, be mirrored when drafting a long-term content strategy.

"The goal for our branding should be that every potential customer knows exactly where we want to take them."
Donald Miller

Quality content

Content creation often succumbs to the allure of quantity and resource constraints. There’s a prevailing notion that ‘more is better’ and that ‘content can come cheap’. However, from an audience perspective, this absolutely makes no sense. We enjoy well-made movies, read thoughtful books, and admire beautifully created art, so why are we sacrificing quality for the sake of ‘bulk’ content?

Create content that stands out, that resonates with the target audience. Investing in high-quality content is also an investment in the growth of your brand’s reputation. Furthermore, it can be repurposed into smaller segments to extend its lifespan. This process is called content mapping and is often overlooked due to the high production efforts that go into creating high-quality content. It involves extracting multiple smaller storylines from the main narrative. Hollywood has discovered this for years, producing ‘making-of’ features, interviews, easter eggs, bloopers, still frames, signing sessions, and so much more. The process lies right before us, why not make use of it?

Don’t forget sustainability and employer branding

Sustainability, as a subject, cannot exist without authenticity. Numerous cases have emerged where companies faced severe backlash because their content didn’t align with reality. If you choose to disregard the advice above, don’t ignore it for sustainability as a content topic, it’s too significant. Avoid falling into the greenwashing trap, as it can damage your brand beyond repair.

While content marketing is often used for external audiences, it can also extend to internal audiences, in the light of the growing importance of your employer branding. As your company grows and needs to attract top talent, it becomes imperative that everyone understands where the company is headed and why. This helps prevent the risk of having a company operating at two speeds, the pace management takes and the pace at which your colleagues are progressing.

How can June2O help you?

We’ve been asked to assess current strategies and fill in the missing links, we’ve been asked to develop full content strategies and we’ve been asked everything in between. Consider June20 as your Swiss army knife, always useful when it really matters.

Want to deepdive into your content marketing strategy? Let’s grab a coffee. In the meantime, you can see what we’ve done for Hoogstraten and HOGENT.

Tom Vanlerberghe

TOM VANLERBERGHE, Digital Strategist at June20, started his marketing career client-side at Kursaal Oostende, Enfinity, Smartphoto,, Flyeralarm, LensOnline… where he was responsible for marketing budgets over €1m and international marketing teams. Always interested in the possibilities that a multitude of channels can provide, he loves to combine on- and offline marketing strategies and has a special place reserved for marketing automation & content marketing. He’s also our in-house privacy expert.

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