You know what the internet’s most popular sites are. You don’t know all of them, but you’ve visited at least a few of them, probably in the last week. Heck, maybe even today. Your Facebook news feed and Twitter timeline are populated with links from these sites.
Here at Rhino, we look at these sites, too. But we’re not just trying to be entertained or informed; we’re trying to learn from these sites. The internet is a major part of our business, and we are always looking to understand it better and use it in smarter ways. Today, I want to share with you three valuable marketing tactics we’ve learned from the internet’s most heavily-trafficked sites:
You can appropriate a lot of other people’s content
The Huffington Post practically based their business model off of this, and do you think they’re hurting for clicks or page views right now? The idea is as old as time – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! But in this case, Huffpo’s version of “joining them” is to take the interesting stuff about someone else’s content and post it on the Huffpo website, with an accompanying link to the original post they’re lovingly borrowing from.
This practice has become known as “content aggregation.” Regardless of how you feel about it, it works extremely well. So feel free to write your own take about something interesting you read online, but do be sure to give proper credit to the original author and site.
We sure do love lists
We like Buzzfeed here at Rhino, really. I’ve even paid homage to their style with a blog post, which was quite fun to put together. But if they don’t do another list article for 100 years, it’ll still be too soon.
Buzzfeed loves lists. As I’m writing this, I hopped over to look at their site and scrolled down a bit and saw at least 30 different list articles before I stopped counting – and that was just on the home page! But it’s apparently what the people want, because Buzzfeed continues to be one of the most popular websites on the internet.
So the lesson here: embrace the list. And apparently, don’t be afraid of overdoing it. Because although I am often annoyed by the presence of another list article, that doesn’t stop me from clicking on the ones that look interesting.
“Clickbait”: the practice of teasing your audience with something allegedly fascinating at your website – but they have to click the link to find out. You usually see these type of posts on Facebook, and they’ll be something along the lines of “This young woman could have thrown in the towel; but what she did instead will touch your heart.” Upworthy is one of the world’s most egregious clickbait offenders.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to encourage people to come to your site in order to get the goods, but the problem with clickbait is the fact it’s so often unworthy. Many of those links lead to articles that are lame or uninteresting – the site providing the link knows this, so they pull a bait and switch. They make you think the content is fascinating, but it’s all just a ploy to get you to visit the site.
So we aren’t discouraging the practice of clickbait; just be sure that your link leads to something worthwhile. Otherwise, your attempts at clickbait will eventually stop working and people will write your site off as a waste of time.