Have you seen some of the stuff the Scottish Catholic Church has been putting out recently? Linking a MP’s death with his homosexuality and callling for incest to be approved? Are they deliberately going for the linkbait? Is it easier to do than three Hail Mary’s?
As most people who work in social media or online engagement know, linkbait is essentially writing an article or saying something that will get people going – it will strongly anger them or make them agree passionately with what is said, but it prompts strong emotive responses.
Now, in a perfect world, all writing would be that good that it triggers a response, but it isn’t. Also, some people are more crass about it than others – the Scottish PR who wrote about Amy Winehouse in The Huffington Post just after she died comes to mind.
Anyway, the point being that it’s traditionally seen as something that gets people talking and linking (and when combined with good SEO that can work wonders on a number of levels).
So is it Linkbait? On the one hand it would appear so. Homosexuality and the Catholic Church certainly pushes a lot of buttons for some people. But on the other hand, it’s not as the Catholic Church did these as blog posts in an effort to try and direct traffic towards a specific site. Similarly, some people are so outraged by it that they are talking about it but not providing a link (by way of protest).
I’d say it perhaps comes down as Godbait – after all the Catholic Church certainly wants people out there to be talking about this and for The Word to be spread. It’s also PR savvy enough to know that lots of people will decry them for it – but many will also agree.
(For those looking for more on linkbait, I’d suggest following Lyndon Antcliff and LinkbaitCoach on Twitter and consider this linkbait coaching course. If you’re trying online or PR without a journalistic background then it could be quite useful to you.)
(Before anyone wants to kick off in the comments with the ad hominems: I was born a Catholic, raised a Catholic, including primary/secondary schools, was an altar boy but now consider myself agnostic. There might be a God, there might not be.)