This is TNKR Media’s working Thinkbait whitepaper. It is a pledge to do no harm with responsible, useful content; always abiding by guidelines based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, re-evaluating new technologies and adapting strategies based on the latest relevant neuroscience.
Social media have been revolutionary for mass communication. As media professionals, it is our responsibility to evaluate, and continually re-evaluate, the effectiveness these tools. Unfortunately, very few marketers seem to be considering the mental and even physical health of the users targeted by their content. The time for more useful and healthier web content is now.
We seek to create intelligent content, inspired by best practices in journalism, that doesn’t expire the moment it’s shared and, most importantly, does no harm. As we’ve seen in recent years, web content can exacerbate health issues on an individual level, particularly in children and young adults, and can also weaken democracy.
It’s time to demand less of our users and followers, and offer them more. We’ll take you through our argument step-by-step and update this document to consider the latest science and trends.
Public relations vs. traditional marketing content
As a content firm backed by a public relations consultancy, our goals are a bit different than those of traditional marketing agencies. Our primary mission is to help our entrepreneurs and other brand ambassadors develop meaningful, long-lasting relationships with their audiences.
While the content we produce can be sales-oriented, PR is a more long-term exercise to develop of a brand’s audience through partners in traditional and digital media; our thinkbait fuels these missions.
Our mandate aside, we are increasingly preoccupied with the rise of aggressive clickbait, and the challenges it poses for those seeking quality content; content that adds, instead of taking away from, the user experience and even a user’s quality of life.
As we’ve learned with examples globally in recent years, when clickbait techniques are used to further propaganda, the problem even becomes a democratic one.
Our clients expect we consider legacies before clicks, reputations before likes. Enter thinkbait.
Our social media, blogging and podcasting content aims to be compelling in the moment, of course, but our goals are more ambitious: To help entrepreneurs create digital repositories of their insight, expertise and contributions to bettering the quality of life of their audiences.
The spamming of social networks with excessive commercial messages erodes user experience, could be counterproductive for many brands and, more experts are arguing, could even be making us sick.
The metric by which social networks, apps and various digital platforms measure their audiences is time; the more user-time spent on the platform, the more valuable that platform is to advertisers. This is a recipe for an unsustainable web.
Studies show spending too much time in front of screens, especially before bed, can seriously disrupt sleeping patterns and may even lead to increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Studies like these reinforce our belief that podcasts in particular, which require little to no screen time to consume, are going to be perceived as one of the healthier, more intelligent forms of content.
And with this emerging science in mind, content providers now have a choice to make: Keep pumping out a maximum amount of disposable clickbait for short-term, day-to-day gain, or create long-lasting value with minimally-invasive, meaningful thinkbait.
We know where we stand.
In addition to our commitment to quality content, our producers also abide by a number of industry guidelines, such as Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, AP or CP Stylebooks, and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics.