TL;DR Version: Clickbait is evil.
Listen, I am all about making it on YouTube, but not at the cost of my integrity. Not that I have a huge amount of integrity, mind you, but there are certain things I just won’t do. Clickbait is one of those things.
First of all, what is Clickbait? In the most simple terms, Clickbait are those article and video titles that are specifically designed to grab your attention, incite you to click on the link, but may not really have much to do with the article or video you clicked on. They are usually provocative, often incendiary to certain groups (political or otherwise), and – in my opinion – completely immoral.
NOTE: I obviously used a Clickbait title on this work, for demonstrative and sarcastic purposes. Sue me.
Anyway, Clickbait is bad, and not something I’m interested in being a part of, either on my website, nor on my videos. But here’s the thing: Apparently the best way to get anywhere on YouTube is to use Clickbait titles and thumbnails on your videos. I’ve been watching lots of “How To”-style videos of late, which teach you how to grow your YouTube channel, and for the most part they all say the same thing:
- Do What You Love
- Be Consistent
- Use Clickbait Titles
Often they will also toss in a 4th point, being “Create Quality Content”, but not always. But that’s neither here nor there.
Long story short, 99% of the time, these bits of advice come down to “Make videos about what you enjoy” (Check), “Put out videos on a consistent basis, weekly at least” (Check), and “Use Clickbait titles and thumbnails in order to get more people to notice your videos!”
You know what? Fuck that!
Look, I get it, I really do. Clickbait is a quick and easy way to get lots of people to notice your content, in a short period of time. That’s fine, and I don’t really have a problem with other people doing it, but that’s not for me. I would rather do things the right way, without having to resort to Clickbait links and titles.
You know why? Because Clickbait isn’t a proper solution for the long term.
I am building my video channels in three ways: Consistent uploads (Weekly or Daily), Quality Content (some might debate that description for my shows, but my wife likes them, so…), and proper use of meta-tags, descriptions, and so forth. I’m not saying I’m a Master of SEO-Fu (nor would I want to be… Guess who came up with Clickbait?), but if someone searches YouTube for the subjects I cover on my shows, odds are my videos will come up eventually. Maybe they won’t come up #1, but they will come up. Eventually.
And the more they come up, the more people will see them, which will in turn make them come up even higher in the search results the next time.
Yes, this isn’t a fast way to get popular on YouTube, and in fact, it may never work at all. But this is the ethical way to raise interest in your YouTube channel(s), let alone a blog like “Gaming Stuff”. And if I never get anywhere of consequence with either outlet, at least I did it on my terms, without selling out my morals.
But let me tell you, it really is hard watching people with shitty content get rich on YouTube, primarily because they throw out incendiary, Clickbait titles on their videos. Makes you want to just walk away from the whole thing, y’know?