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Malcolm Cole, Director - Media and Communications

How many times have you seen a headline like the one above on news media sites and, despite knowing that it’s mere click bait, been drawn to the story like a moth to a flame?

The nature of news media has undergone such dramatic change in recent years, and perhaps there’s been no greater change than in the area of what journalists call “news value”.

Once, priority in media organisations was given to the weightiest, most important stories – those issues which would have the greatest and most lasting impact on our society.

Today, with media sites selling advertising traffic as much as selling news, the greatest emphasis is on those stories that will generate the most clicks.

In fact, in many organisations journalists are now judged on their “clicks and subs” – that is, how many people open their stories and how many people subscribe to the news organisation as a result of the story.

No doubt, there’ll be plenty of people who bemoan the new paradigm and the “dumbing down” of news. (In fact, references to “dumb decisions” or “dumb policies” are among the best click bait for news websites.)

However, this is the world in which we operate, and the best thing we can do it to work with the system for the outcomes we want.

At the SAS Group, we use our connections across various media organisations to remain at the forefront of industry trends, ensuring that our clients maximise their free media exposure as part of a comprehensive communications strategy.

Sometimes we might suggest tactics that will push you up the “click rankings”. This could be using particular words in headlines, or presenting information in a particular way.  (Lists and rankings are a great form of click bait, for example.)

It’s not a case of if you can’t beat them join them. We always place the highest priority on your reputation and the integrity of the information we are sharing.

However, if presenting that same information in a slightly different way helps achieve a much better outcome, then we will work with you to do that.

After all, it’s not only the journalist who wants people to click on your story.

The SAS Group is your trusted partner for government, media and corporate engagement.

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