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Clickbait Versus Personality: What I Learned About Storytelling

When I came to intern at On Target, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t know what “SEO” was or how online marketing worked beyond the basics. However, I had applied to a Content Writer and Editor position — which I know how to do — so I figured I would be able to keep up. While I was here, I ended up learning a lot about the techniques behind both SEO and advertising.

On Target’s biggest focus is to “tell your story:” make your product or service properly, make sure it works, and advertise authentically with the target consumer in mind. Avoid being fake, spammy, or annoying. As a consumer, that’s something I innately knew, but didn’t realize I looked for. I didn’t realize how much more enticing it was when a corporation shows personality. Think about Progressive’s hilarious commercials or Wendy’s salty Twitter posts. I remember those; I like those. They make me appreciate the company.

On the other hand, those annoying, spammy advertisers are the bane of consumers’ entire existence, and that’s hardly an exaggeration. Our screens are filled with repetitive, hashtag-cluttered tweets, boring infomercials that sing the call number 300 times, and streams of emails from companies we didn’t even subscribe to. Sometimes, it feels like we live in a world of overtly false advertising and bright online popups. Consumer interests have shifted from “advertising” to “good content,” but not every brand has caught up.

Here at On Target, they pride themselves on paying attention to those consumer interests and intentionally give them “the good stuff.” In the process of editing podcast transcripts, I once saw our CEO, Tom Jelneck, describe this mutual, consumer hatred of plastic advertisement as a “B.S. Detector,” and I think that’s an incredibly accurate description. Content filled with clickbait and excessive SEO can be almost personally offensive; after all, we’ve all been there, when you’re reading an obvious sales pitch and wondering, “How stupid do you think I am?”

During my internship, I wrote for a blog post for a local company tied to Orlando’s city and culture. It was June — Pride month — so I suggested that we should write a few pieces honoring Pride month. I decided to write a piece about the Orlando City Stadium’s rainbow chairs as a tribute to the Pulse shooting, especially since the anniversary of both the shooting and the memorial were coming up.

Since this is a sensitive topic, I wasn’t sure how much I should optimize this post for SEO purposes. I wanted to address the anniversary with grace and respect, and I also wanted the post to be easily found online for the client’s benefit.

At the end of the post, I included a call to action, inviting readers to dive into this client’s website, check out their blog, or contact them with any questions. However, after talking with a content editor, we decided that this wouldn’t work for this post. I agreed; it felt almost impolite to include the lighthearted CTA I wrote with such a serious, emotional blog.

I was appreciative. This is a company that revolves around increasing the relevancy of a client’s product and website, yet On Target also greatly respects stories for what they are. The people here excel at finding the stories people want to hear, and they listen to all suggestions with open-mindedness and attention. I think that’s extremely important and says a lot about the integrity of the company. Interning here was definitely a fantastic experience!

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About the Author

Lexi is a student at the University of Central Florida in the Journalism program, and she now works as an intern at On Target as a Content Writer and Editor. In her free time, Lexi loves writing, taking care of her turtles, and researching Greek myth. Go Knights!

On Target Digital Marketing is a full-service digital marketing agency located in Orlando, Florida. Through branding, web design, content creation, and social media, we get brands found and talked about online. To learn how we can help your brand grow and thrive, call 407-830-4550 or fill out our contact form. Thanks for reading and sharing!