You’ll never believe how amazing this post about click bait is!! Also mentions Facebook, LinkedIn, Donald Trump, Salesforce Pardot and Google!

If you’re human and have access to the internet, you’ve probably fallen victim to ‘click-bait’ at least once in your life. If you’re like me you hover on the edge of cynicism and curiosity every time you open Facebook. We’ve almost become desensitized to it and have learned to ignore it on Facebook…but what the hell has happened to LinkedIn?

And when did marketers think to themselves hey that thing I loathe in my personal life could be a fucking fantastic addition to my lead gen campaign?’ In case you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘click bait’ let me enlighten you.

Click bait is content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page. Typically the sensation is not substantiated beyond the headline of the content which elicited the click-through.

Sample click bait. I’m sorry in advance, but you cannot click on the articles depicted above, so do not try. They’re not that interesting so I’ve really saved you from yourself. You’re welcome.

Why does shitty click bait work?

Click bait attracts our attention and often earns our click because we’re weak. And bored. And we’re so saturated in content that we’ve seen it all, so we’re always looking for something we haven’t seen. In our personal lives we seek to be informed and entertained, and no longer are the boring facts of life and those things you hear on the news interesting, provocative, or shocking enough (it’s why we love Donald Trump news reports even if we hate him).

I think we can all agree click bait is annoying, but it works, so we kind of deserve it. But what is click bait for? I don’t know this to be true, but I image it was concocted by vicious hackers and malware creators who have a shockingly enlightened grasp of human psychology. For a long time legit businesses did not bait us so cruelly.

Now that its proven effective, however, it seems enterprising enterprises have decided to jump on that morally dubious bandwagon to ‘earn’ our clicks the easy way – with exciting headlines and empty promises. And LinkedIn has (d)evolved into an effective platform for the proliferation of their crappy content.

Why would legit business use click bait?

It’s google’s fault. This is an oversimplified explanation of search engine optimization (SEO), but basically it works like this: To show up in unpaid search results on search engines like google, your content needs to contain the search terms people are looking for, but also prove that others find it interesting and valuable. The value of your content is measured by how many people look at it. Thus, to build credibility for your website in the eyes of search engines, you need high traffic. To obtain high traffic you can earn it slowly over time by producing high quality interesting content targeted at individuals who are your target readership, or you can trick a broader audience into visiting your site with broadly interesting headlines.

Could you offer those people substantive content which fulfills the promise in that headline? Sure, but that’s time consuming and expensive, requires talent and an you have to care about good marketing. You will get the clicks and downloads you seek without bothering to put anything worthwhile behind the gated form. So why bother? Because you have integrity? Apparently not.

The latest offender? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Salesforce Pardot  – a company marketing to marketers – thought they would get away with fooling us this with this enticing headline: 7 Inspiring B2B Marketing Campaigns: Must-See Examples of Marketing Success That You Can Replicate

A screen shot of the promotion on LinkedIn, which I also received via email. No, I will not give you the link because I don’t want the page to earn extra traffic. It’s not worthy and you’re better than that. PLEASE do not add fuel to the fire by searching for this and downloading it yourself. If you want to see this content I’m bashing and judge for yourself, you can get the PDF here.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking to be inspired and see examples of great marketing. Even better when there are takeaways I can implement. This could have been an awesome piece of content…except it wasn’t. There was NOTHING in it. I mean, not nothing…there were pictures and wimpy descriptions of what one might loosely call a campaign, with accompanying links to the featured company’s twitter account (more click bait!)


To be honest, I’m not sure whether this was intentional click bait; Pardot’s weak attempt to try to dazzle prospects by showing off the big-name companies that use their software; or a young millennial content marketer’s honest attempt at content creation skewed by the generation (s)he grew up in, which has blinded him/her to the difference between real content and internet garbage.

Think I’m too cynical? Maybe…but here’s what happened next….

About 15 minutes later I got a phone call, which I did not answer. There was no voicemail, but I did get a follow-up email from a sales rep who said he just tried to call me. I ignored it. Two days later I got another phone call with a voicemail from the same rep. And another follow-up email. He wanted to know when I was available to speak about my interest in Pardot. I politely told him I’m not interested in Pardot, I’m perfectly happy with my (much more robust) marketing automation platform, and I was simply interested in the topic promised in the content. He did not reply.

Normally I’m annoyed by over-zealous sales reps, but this time I was nice because his marketing team set him up for failure. Putting aside the especially disappointing lack of content in this particular piece of content, generally speaking creating content that’s of interest to a broad group of people may make for good lead gen, but it’s not sufficient qualifying content. Just because you got someone to download a provocative piece of content does not meant they’re interested in what you have to offer or ready to speak to a sales person. You’d think that Pardot, a company that markets and sells to marketers a product which has automated lead scoring and qualification capabilities, might exercise proper use of the tool they are selling.

I hope this was an isolated incident and that they will learn from their mistake, but I suspect more likely they will see the huge download counts and call this piece of click bait a success. And they will continue to have a proliferation platform in LinkedIn – a tool I once valued, which is rapidly becoming the click-bait emporium of the business world.

I hope you felt the click bait headline I lovingly gave this post yielded satisfactory content.


woman - coloring book - cathartic

Hello. It’s me…

So I should open this post by saying:

“Hi, my name is XXX and I’m a bad blogger. It’s been 3 months since my last post.”

Yup…I suck. I’ve committed the worst (most cliché) blogging crime.

Alas, it is what it is. I have that Adele song stuck in my head, hence today’s title. I wish I could say I’m jumping back into the swing of things because a brilliant topic has just struck me. I actually have a whole list of brilliant marketing topics to talk about, but I’ve been feeling unmotivated to write about them. I know, it’s so unlike me!

What I really want to talk about are things less specific to marketing, and more about work life in general. I’m so sorry to tease you with my reemergence only to fail to deliver a useful marketing insights. I think there will be some nuggets in here.

The rest of this is for me. I give you permission to stop reading now.

No? Okay, here it is…

I think I’ve been feeling uninspired to write not because I don’t have things to say, but because I have hesitated to say them. I’m mad at myself for admitting that, and even madder (word?) at myself for censoring myself because I created this blog literally for the purpose of allowing myself to share what’s on my mind, uncensored (it’s in the logo!!). Once again I’ll say it…I suck.

So here’s what’s been on my mind…I’m afraid of being mediocre. Being mediocre when I believe I could have been better frustrates the shit out of me. I’m about to have a birthday, and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much since the last one. When I get invited to attend a conference I think to myself ‘shit [self], why didn’t you get invited to speak?‘ And then I read the bios of the speakers and think ‘wow, they’ve accomplished so much more than me. dammit.

And here’s what’s even scarier. I’m sick. I have serious health problems and I hate to admit it, but they might get in my way. I refuse to accept it, but it scares me every day. My life choices have become colored by this malady that is this body I was born with. I frequently see stories of people who achieved great things despite the odds and obstacles and it doesn’t inspire me, it scares me because despite trying, I haven’t achieved those things and I’m already tired.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life and I’m very lucky…but I could do more. I could be more. I could….but I’m not.

My (non work) life is distracting me from my work life more now than ever before. And as I’ve become this distracted (some may say more normal and balanced) person I have realized something: most other people (not the crazy work obsessed ‘successful’ people I look up to, but normal people) are distracted and looking for balance in their lives, too. This means they’re not thinking about their jobs and what shit we’re trying to market (sell) to them all day every day.

I used to look at every email that hit my inbox. Now, if it’s not from someone I know, I delete it immediately. Without a second thought. I’m so busy, stressed out, and distracted that I don’t have the time or emotional energy to look at one single email more than I have to. And it occurs to me that may be true for my (our) audience, too.

I used to think sending marketing emails so that hit an exec’s inbox on a Sunday evening was brilliant. S/he’s probably checking email before the Monday chaos hits, and their admin isn’t getting in the way deleting potentially unwanted emails.  It’s the perfect time to stand out and get their attention. Now I’m the recipient of that brilliant idea and it get’s my attention only long enough to frustrate me that I might start my Monday morning with unread emails. Solution: delete with fury (I hate people like me).

People who have waitressed before will tell you that they carry great sympathy and respect for their waitress when they’re good, and the opposite when they’re not so good. I feel similarly about marketers, and bad marketing emails make me extra critical and extra cranky. I used to at least review them and give them a thought. Now I don’t have the time. Delete.

What’s my point? More people are probably like me (now). Marketers have a tough job ahead of them. We all say it: Right person, right message, right time. And that’s right. And it’s hard. It takes discipline, thought and effort. And god dammit I just do not have the patience for undisciplined, inconsiderate, lazy marketers.

I’m so afraid of becoming that marketer. You should be, too.

If you’re still reading, thank you. My last piece of wisdom to share today is the there’s something very cathartic about writing down your thoughts. You should try it.

Sassy Marketer out.



P.S. Another cathartic activity is adult coloring books. A friend and former coworker turned me on to it during a rough time. Hence the image accompanying this post.

Digital Summit Nuggets of Wisdom (#DSATL16): Content Marketing

Whether this stuff is new, or you’re looking to validate what perhaps is obvious, there’s some good stuff to hear at the Digital Summit in Atlanta. While perhaps not as prestigious as the SiriusDecisions Summit, which is also happening this week, this event will probably deliver much more immediately actionable ideas. Here are some I picked up so far…(you may notice a reoccurring theme)…

Content pros: content isn’t King (gasp!), CUSTOMERS are King

  • No one cares about your content and the crap you want to say, they care about getting insight and answers to the crap they’re doing. Content wins when you say what they want to hear. 
  • Content marketing is about PULLING customers in not PUSHING stuff out
  • If someone wouldn’t Google your content title, change your content title. Cute, clever or proprietary titles don’t get your content found. If your content doesn’t get found, it doesn’t get read. 

SEO Pros: keywords aren’t King (gasp!), CUSTOMERS are King

  • Don’t rely exclusively on keyword research, ask your staff who have actual interactions with your prospects and customers (sales, delivery folks, customer service, etc)
  • Here’s an idea…just try to HELP people
  • Look at ‘Google suggests’ – Google knows what people are looking for. Use the magic wildcard (*) to see what people are really searching for 

Demand Pros: your company isn’t the King (gasp!), CUSTOMERS are King

  • Unless you company is an established content and thought leadership factory (like @Hubspot) people aren’t going to you for info, and even when they go to Google, they’re likely going to a hub of content that offers numerous content options (like @MarketingProfs). Don’t fool yourself by thinking you’re too good for content syndication. 
  • Just because someone downloaded your content doesn’t mean they want to buy your shit. You NEED to nurture people. This helps weed out those who aren’t viable buyers and prepare those who are to have a fruitful convo with sales on their terms. 
  • One touch and one channel isn’t gonna cut it. You wouldn’t send someone to an event or webinar with a single email and leave it at that (I hope). Why would one email be enough to expose people to your content? I’m not suggesting lambasting people with ads and email for every piece of content you’ve got, but I do suggest taking time to think strategically about how your content will be distributed and consumed, and that strategy better include multiple channels and touches. 

Sales Pros: you aren’t the King (gasp!), CUSTOMERS are King 

  • Just because you know someone exists (you have their name and contact information) doesn’t mean they care about your company or want to talk to you. 
  • And just because they downloaded something doesn’t mean they care about your company or want to talk to you. What it DOES mean is they have an interest/a need/a challenge. It DOES mean you likely have an opportunity to hel them (hint: help = sell).
  • If your marketing team is worth their salt, they’re using tech to capture and communicate who in your CRM is interacting with what content. Take an extra moment to look at that, and let that inform your conversant with prospects and customers 

I said a lot of words so if the main theme got lost, I’ll repeat it here: YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE KING. Think about how you behave in your personal and professional life. Unless you’re a unique and special snowflake (aka a total weirdo) chances are you behave just like your customers do. Market to people accordingly.