Ok I am so getting out ahead of the pack on this one and am taking full credit for coining the term and of picture bait. Sure people have been doing, maybe even in very deliberate and manipulative ways, but gosh darn it I’m giving it a name, and if science has taught us anything it’s that naming something gives you ownership.
All right Gray what the heck are you talking about what is picture bait? If you follow any of the popular meme tracking sites you’ll quite often see pictures next to some of stories. Well here’s the thing many of them use the pictures from the original post, and if your picture is click enticing or in some other way visually interesting or stimulating you can get extra clicks because of it. Some of you with old world experience (thats print fer you youngsters) will say gee great Gray you discovered adding images gets you more attention, like duh welcome to advertising 102. Some of you newer folks are are now bemoaning the fact that the web 2.0 world will now become more visually “noisy” not something you needed in an area already overcrowded with people competing for attention.
To which I say yep guilty on both accounts. A lot of the things that work really well in print, also work really well on the web. Growing up in New York it’s hard not to appreciate title bait being exposed to the New York Post on a regular basis. However lots of web folk missed that print/advertising education, so what was old is new to them. As far as competing for attention, if you haven’t realized you need to do it, and that it works, well then don’t ask me why the only people who read your blog are your mom and your sister.
Sure once you’ve got a big audience you won’t need to get up and pull ‘crazy stunts’ all the time and you can concentrate on creating great content, but when you’re fighting the uphill battle you do what you can to get noticed. For those of you who don’t think it works, did you say “what the heck is he doing” when you saw the picture on this page or in your feed reader, and did you pause for even the slightest amount of time because of it.