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One WayWe know that Click Bait is bad for your company and bad for your brand. But have you stopped to consider why? I hadn’t until I saw a piece of media being advertised in two very different ways that elicited two very different responses from me.

What you’ll read next will shock you… Sorry, I couldn’t resist

There is a video doing the rounds at the moment that shows the reaction of several people who have had their genetic ancestry analysed through their DNA.

I was first made aware of it from someone who shared the video on their Facebook stream. The video was being promoted by the company that made it. Not surprisingly they sell DNA tests.

Their strapline was:

It’s time to discover that there are more things uniting us than dividing us.‪#‎LetsOpenOurWorld

The message was simple. These people associated with a single country or community. Some of them demonstrated passive aggressive racism on camera, all of them identified with the country of their birth to the detriment of other countries in their region or Globally. Once the DNA tests were returned they were all shocked by various degrees to learn that they were all of a mixed racial heritage. The right wing Brit with very short hair, who mistrusted Germans was of course 5% German and so on.

It is a very short, powerful film that says. You are more than you think you are. You have more connections in this world that you know. Let’s open our world. It’s beautifully told.

You should go to their website directly; the film can be found at

At pretty much the same time I was made aware of a short video featuring Kevin Spacey, who knows a thing or two about telling a story, who said that there are three things that make a story worth telling. They are

  • Conflict, and its ultimate resolution
  • Authenticity of you and the story
  • The Audience that you are telling the story to

I would like to pass on, vicariously, these three points to the person responsible for writing the headlines for the website “Littlethings”. They a ‘news’ website who re-distribute videos to create traffic. They re-presented the DNA video recently.

I’m not going to put the link up, because I truly do not want you to go there, but the headline read:

Her Blood Has A Shocking Hidden Secret. Now Look At The Crowd Behind Her… UNBELIEVABLE!

I think it’s atrocious, but let’s ask Kevin,

  • Conflict? Well, perhaps, but not effective. Click bait is not conflict driven storytelling, it’s like being dared to do something by a three-year-old.
  • Authenticity? Well they may be true to themselves, but they are certainly not being true to the story of humanity that the video is telling.
  • Audience? And this is the thing that really annoyed me. The film’s original creator was telling a story to sell their product. It is a good story. It is a moving story. It is an effective piece of sponsored media.

The viral website is selling a headline to drive people to an ad infested website to sell their advertising space.

You and I scroll past click bait headlines every single day. Like TV advertising, which recent studies show some 84% of us now fast forward through. More and more noise is being created in a farcical attempt to grab your attention.

However, if you believe what Kevin says, if you are aware that you can solve a problem, and tell the story to your audience with passion and conviction you should be able to stand out from the crowd.

Every piece of click bait that I accidentally click on has a pretty obvious outcome, so here’s mine.

Don’t use click bait headlines. It robs you of your authenticity.