14 Things You Don’t Understand About Parenthood Until You Have Kids.
It will come as no surprise to any of you to hear that our randomly selected item 14 is absolute rubbish. I’m not going to make it easy for you to find it by popping in a link, because that would be clickbaiting for clickbait. (Also known as clickbait squared.) Whoever wrote the Wiki definition of the word Clickbait probably had this piece in mind when they included the phrase “at the expense of quality or accuracy”. I will, however, share this extract with you, “You have completely underestimated the importance of the word “nap time” for your entire life.” Even if the strangled syntax doesn’t bother you, just count the number of words in inverted commas after the word, “word”.
There is nothing to learn here about the nature of parenting, but a great deal to be learned about producing drivel. I have studied it in depth and until my eyes hurt so that you don’t have to, and have drawn from it these….
…14 Things You Don’t Understand About Clickbait Until You Start Writing Clickbait.
1) It’s important to research your subject thoroughly. Invite a carefully selected group of garrulous, opinionated bigots to share a bottle of cheap vodka in your local park and discuss the subject at hand. This focus group will provide the basis for your piece, so be sure to write down some of the more obnoxious and pointless things that they say.
2) Learning to say the same thing in several not-very-different ways is going to be important to you. Keep the vodka flowing so that your expert panellists repeat themselves as often as possible. Listen and learn.
3) Even the most thorough researchers sometimes find themselves a little short of data. If this happens to you, simply type your subject into a search engine and copy what you find there. It works for me.
4) Randomly select cute and/or serious photographs from one of those free image sites. Insert them into your copy to make it look longer. Do make sure that you don’t accidentally choose an image that relates to the point you are trying to make.
5) If choosing images of people, make sure that you get a good spread of skin tones in there to maximise the value to potential advertisers and make Nigel Farage feel uncomfortable.
6) Choose photos that are covered by a Creative Commons License. Don’t worry about that little detail about not using them for “commercial purposes”, there’s a little wrinkle in the T&Cs which makes it OK for the advertisers who place links in your piece to benefit from your use of photos, without having to pay a thing to you or the photographer.
7) Appear confident and authoritative by using verbs exclusively in the imperative. If you don’t know what the imperative is, it’s the bossy form of a verb. If you don’t know what a verb is don’t worry: neither does anyone else writing these things.
8) You must make sure that you obey point 7 at all times.
9) As you write, imagine that your reader has a reading age of 6 and the attention span of a gnat. Or the attention span of an MP at work. (Ooops! Let a relevant image slip through there.)
10) Point 9 matters. So does point 2. Write short sentences.
11) Did I mention that you should say the same thing over and over again in different ways? You have to make your numbers.
12) Be careful not to express an opinion in case you upset someone. Remember, you don’t have to change the world, you only have to generate traffic to a car insurance comparison website.
13) Use dashes as often as possible – after all – any other type of punctuation can be intimidating.
14) The most important single action any of us can take in these troubled times is to keep on clicking.