So everybody in Australia hates the foul mouthed Gordon Ramsay because of his tirade against one of Australia’s national treasures. Fine. But let’s take a step back and take stock of how much everybody is talking about him. Do you suppose that’s going to harm sales and viewing figures? Of course not, but this type of self promotion has been going on for years in internet marketing.
Gordon Ramsay has always been a popular figure in terms of viewing figures: His appearance on channel Nine’s 60 Minutes in April, for example, pushed the programme to its highest yearly viewing figures and made it the most watched programme of the evening.
Let’s weigh up the effect of Ramsay’s ranting and put it all into perspective: The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Deputy PM and the Premier of Victoria have all criticised the remarks; the news has spread to the UK, the US and New Zealand where the press and celebrity watchers have seized on the opportunity to condemn the “troubled chef”; thousands of news articles about the spat are circulating the internet.
The wave of public sympathy for Tracy Grimshaw has made her even more popular and she has even been approached by Zoo magazine to take part in a provocative photo shoot as a supposed response to some of Ramsay’s name calling.
Whilst Ramsay’s exploits may smack of desperation, the fact is that, like it or not, this sort of nastiness attracts interest. As proof of this, Channel 9 screened more successive stories about Ramsay and Grimshaw knowing full well that it would act as more fuel for the fire. Indeed, ratings for a subsequent broadcast of A Current Affair, hosted by Tracy Grimshaw, beat those of the station’s nearest rival significantly.
So what does all this imply for the purposes of internet marketing? Well one internet marketing trick that this can be compared with is the practice of link baiting. Link baiting can be described as the use of a piece of content as a means of getting others to link back to a desired location. It can result in an improvement in search engine rankings and an increase in web traffic. Generally, unpaid incoming links are valued by the search engines but the practice of link baiting is somewhat frowned upon. However, if a link bait is interesting and compelling enough, it can capture the attention of many potential clients.
Link baiting can take the form of news, informational and humor content. But another type of link bait is known as an ‘evil hook’. This is where a controversial statement is made with the intention of eliciting a response. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Just look at how much response Gordon Ramsay has been eliciting lately. An evil hook can potentially lead to an influx of traffic as a result of readers seeking verification of the statement or wishing to argue it.
Love him or loathe him, internet marketing professionals should take note of Ramsay’s self promotional tactics. Plenty of publications are denouncing him as being well past his sell-by date or just a miserable school yard bully.
So why is it we’re all still talking about him then?