3 lessons from ‘Generation Clickbait’: Breaking through media noise by leading with transparency

By: Henry Wilhelm

We all know that feeling of disappointment. Prey to a sensationalist headline or glossy picture, it doesn’t take long to realize that you’ve been tricked by clickbait (unless you’re a Zendaya fan who sat expectantly through 155 minutes of ‘Dune’). Let’s face it, the media landscape we live in can be downright overwhelming. We’re profiled, then compelled, coerced, and occasionally dragged by the online marketing machine into the fray. It wants but two things from us: a click and a conversation. 

But the click is less than half the battle. It’s the conversation that really counts, and we’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out whether that quick chat or extended dialogue will be worth our while. 

When you face the barrage of barking ads, headlines, and half-told teases, the loudest voice in the room often seems like the most engaging. But there’s a new savvy among many, who’ve had enough of the pop-up ads and the, “You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!” headlines. We’ve grown out of our media adolescence to realize that the most interesting person at the party isn’t the one who’s begging for us to watch and listen. 

How then, is one to stand out in such an oversaturated space? An online environment in which everything is pleading for our attention ironically shines a spotlight on the organizations and products that aren’t. Up front, transparent branding exudes a confidence that is undeniably appealing. Companies that feel assured that they can win the trust and confidence of consumers through the reliability of their products and their people not only earn the click, they win the conversation too. 

Here are 3 ways to turn the practice of transparency into attention that matters:

  1. Give insight into your process: Consumers are at once increasingly skeptical and eager to bring their resources to responsible brands. Alleviate any skepticism and drive meaningful engagement by bringing people into the fold, from inspiration to implementation.
  2. Showcase who you are: Ultimately people impact, and are impacted by, real people. Be authentic as you tell your story, and drive impact by creating tangible relationships.
  3. Highlight what makes you different: Surrounded by glossy, curated perfection, authenticity distinguishes itself. How are you unique? People will be excited to find out.

You have confidence in your organization and your product. You are unique. You have real, relatable human experiences and inspirations, and you make valid decisions for legitimate reasons. 

Ultimately, these things matter.

So no more jockeying with the masses for thoughtless clicks and uninspiring interactions. Be authentic, be transparent, and foster the kinds of meaningful relationships that matter to a change maker like you.     

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Pitch

PR tips for startup leaders to fuel growth & get noticed