By it’s very definition is something that stands out from the rest of the crowd. But how can something stand out when every site you come across tries to “blow your mind” or says “Wait til you read this!!!”.
I think it’s handy to think of marketing and advertising and how they are related to sensationalism, because when you start employing overwrought and over-hyped language and phrases through your business communications potential customers will either love it or hate it. And the more people see it elsewhere, the less sensational your marketing will seem.
Sensationalism in media stems mostly from tabloids and newspapers, usually the cheap sheets, where headlines are used solely to grab attention of passers-by or shop-goers in public places. The problem is that so much media reporting is via the internet now that a lot of companies assume the same rules apply and that you can gain audience by shouting about the “crazy” and “insane” story you have and they must read on your website and sharing it through the various social channels. It’s a common error and one a lot of high-brow companies are beginning to lower themselves to in order to gain bigger audiences.
So Why the negativity?
It’s cheap and I hate it! It’s a cheap and low-brow way of getting people to read your articles, visit your pages, or watch your videos and appeals to lowest common denominator, your curiosity. It’s not without it’s place though, don’t get me wrong. Viral video’s of snakes eating crocodiles or a dancing baby are always going to employ sensationalist methods and in way, it suits the material.Yet there are some business’s that use sensationalism as a tool to expand their potential clients, which when I see it I find so extremely annoying I immediately throw my monitor out the window onto the hapless people below and leave the room to fight a dinosaur before settling down with a cup of chai tea won from the hands of an evil ninja tea-maker. (see what I did there?)
Just because news sites utilise shock and awe headlines doesn’t mean you should. Your potential customers are most likely browsers intent on finding a specific service they’ve just searched for, and are going to be in that mindset while happening upon your website, bombarding them with language that holds no actual real information and points them to video’s or facebook etc, is a sure-fire way of losing their interest, which is enemy number one when trying to lure in potential customers, whether they be on your website or standing directly in front of you.
Business’s should look beyond the lure of the fantastic and concentrate on providing information on their services in their own unique little way. You should assume your potential market niche is as clever as you are, more so even, and write and share for them. The same goes for your correspondence, business adverts and website. It will hopefully force you to think about what you and your business is about and to rationalise it’s ethos and services in a simple and readable way, presenting it your own voice. This is a guaranteed way of communicating effectively with the people who will ultimately pay your wages that month.