A Sensationalist Click-Bait Headline

A Sensationalist Click-Bait Headline

2 hours ago I woke up and found that the article I wrote on Friday had received over 30,000 views, +400 likes, an untold number of shares, countless tweets and +40 LinkedIn comments. BUT…. I broke the rules.

What can YOU learn from the success of this article?

You’re likely to be a lot smarter than me, I only managed a D in GCSE English back at school and if I can do this, you can too.

I’ve broken down the sequence of events that happened on Friday for you below. Also I’ve scored them using a simple -1, 0 & +1 for where I believe I did the wrong things and crucially the right things.

Let’s do this. I only have 1 hour until my business partner wakes up and I’ll get pulled away other on other topics.

The article I wrote that got so much attention is here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ebay-caught-napping-amazon-handmade-matthew-ogborne?trk=pulse_spock-articles

Let’s break the steps down into bite-sized pieces so you can follow along easily.

#1 I wrote & published it on a Friday (-1)

On a day I would class as not a good publishing day. At all!

A traditional rule broken there as normally we normally keep to Tuesdays & Thursdays for blog posts. I never envisaged that on Monday morning I would be waking up to the article going that went so wide, so quickly.

Maybe Friday is the new Tuesday?

#2 I did no more than what I normally do to share the article (-1)

A couple of tweets, posted it on the LastDropofInk site, Google Plus’ed it and that was it.

I didn’t tag anyone important in it and neither did I ask anyone to share it either.

Infact I was waiting to hear from a colleague from a news site to see if they wanted the article, I didn’t hear back from them in a timely fashion, so thought screw it, let’s pop it on LinkedIn

So ironically I did less than what I would have normally done on the sharing front.

#3 I did choose a great picture (+1)

Everyone can relate to animals. I remember watching a program a year or more back that said that it’s inbuilt into humans to like fluffy creatures.

So my choice of the picture of a puppy was a bit of a coo.

eBay Caught Napping by Amazon


I wonder what would have happened if I had chosen a kitten instead?

Note: I used a kitten for this article, let’s see what happens :) Oh and if you’re wondering where I got the pictures from, see https://pixabay.com/ for images you can use commercially with no link-backs/credits required.

#4 I wrote it because I wanted to (+1)

I don’t keep a writing schedule, I just wanted to write the article about the lack of customisation options for you as sellers on eBay and the launch of Amazon handmade, it made an excellent reference point.

The topic had been swirling around in my head all week, Friday morning I managed to get up early again (4am, yes I’m a morning person) and put it down on paper, well a Google doc at least.

#5 I wrote it in my language (+1)

If you have a read of the article [see here] you’ll notice I didn’t use any big words or try to be clever.

I wrote the article in my own style, and yes I use too many commas and never used a single semicolon.

Note: One of my personal pet hates is seeing semicolons being used outside of a programming language.

When I see one being used, that indicates to me that the person that wrote the article is a professional writer and may not (I stress the “may not” part here) be an expert in the topic I’m reading.

#6 I published it in more than one place (+1)

The article was published on my blog first, then on LinkedIn.

Something I’ve picked up recently, you can have exactly the same article published in more than one place, just make sure you link back to the article you published first.

At the bottom of the article you’ll see I added the line “This article was originally posted here.”

#7 I did not ask anyone to share it (0)

Maybe the article would have gone further if I asked people to share it with friends or colleagues that sell on eBay or Amazon?

Or maybe it just did well because I didn’t ask?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom.

Note: “What do you think?” This question is powerful as you’ll find out next.

#8 I did ask for comments (+1)

If you look in the latter part of the article, you see me pre-empt questions with questions:

  • “What’s your thoughts on this?”
  • “Should eBay allow customisable options for customers?”
  • “Have eBay been caught napping by Amazon?”

Ask questions, people will answer.

Everyone has an opinion, so help them along by pre-empting a couple of questions relating to the article.

#9 Reply to comments people left you (+1)

After spilling coffee everywhere when seeing over 30K views, I didn’t waste any further time mopping it up, I got typing.

Over 40 people took the time to leave their views, their views are importantand I’ve personally replied to all the comments worth replying to.

Even the one that suggested I had picked a “sensationalist click-bait headline” byAdam Elteto. I liked that line so I used it for this article. A massive hat-tip to Adam for this.

Oh and I also “liked” all the comments as well, everyone likes to be liked (and also replied to as well).

The article was about what I had noticed between eBay & Amazon. The direct comparison between the two was in many ways a LATE one.

Amazon Handmade was launched ages ago.

People call this “news-jacking”. But the fact here is that I was weeks late on the topic and it still got traction. Don’t worry about a topic being old, if you have any passion for it, it’s worth a stab at it.

Also a couple of other things that happened with this article:

  • I asked my assistant to check over the article for spelling mistakes (as were found again in the original draft for this article & I read it twice too!)
  • I asked my wife to check over the article to make sure it made sense to her (she’s not able to do that for this one, she’s on the school run right now)
  • The article was featured in 3 LinkedIn categories Retail & E-Commerce, Editor’s Picks, Technology. I have no idea how that process works. I don’t expect this one to be featured. I never expect anything. I just write and do what I feel passionately about.
  • I didn’t even spot the article taking off until the Monday following. Why? I was busy being passionate about other things (gutting a bedroom for my two girls so we can move houses).
  • Just as with this article, there are no more than two sentences joined together into a paragraph. It makes reading a lot easier, especially on mobile phones.

You can do this too!

Those are the 10 or so things I’ve learned this morning and as I was going through I rated them as:

  • -1, bad or I could have done more
  • 0, no comment
  • +1 I got something right

I scored a measly 5 out of 10.

Notice how many times I mention the word “Passion” in the final part of this article?

This is the one underlying factor that cannot be taught nor cannot be told. If you write with passion, anything can happen.

Taking that point for a few seconds, yes I did cheer when I saw the article had done so well (frankly I was shocked), however that lasted for a few seconds and I went into “share mode”.

I replied to all the comments, liked them and then wrote this article so that you could learn from what I had learnt during the process.

If you’ve picked just one thing from this additional article, I’m happy.

If I can break the rules, score myself as a “5 out of 10” and still get an article features in 3 categories on LinkedIn, +30,000 views and have got a D (which is pretty much a fail) in English, you can do this too.

So this leads me to one question for you:

What do you think I got right (or wrong) in the original article?

You can let me know in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,


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