I recently mentioned in a blog post about how to generate a high number of backlinks relatively easily and one such tactic is linkbait. I also mentioned that I would be coming back to look at that aspect of link generation in a subsequent post, and true to my word, that’s what I’m going to do today.
To start with let’s be clear about a few things. First of all, what is linkbait? Linkbait is web content or other digital resource which is picked up by a significant number of people, and shared through various social media outlets, becoming viral to the extent that a significant percentage of people who pick up on the first shared link go on to share that link with still more people, and on it goes. This can easily result in thousands of links all pointing at your site, but more importantly that than, those links are quality links. They’re not automatically syndicated, they’re being shared by real people through Twitter and Facebook, through their blogs and even their websites. These are powerful links, helping to not only boost your website’s rank in the search results, but helping to direct a massive amount of quality, targeted traffic your way too.
But there’s a second point – and that’s that I mentioned it was easy. It’s not. Well, it can be. Let me explain. Creating linkbait can sometimes be very easy, taking no more than a few minutes’ thought and a day or so gathering data and creating your resource. It might even be as simple as a single blog post which you might write within an hour or two. But then again, linkbait ideas might take you weeks to come up with, or you might try creating linkbait every few days, and it’s months before you strike gold. There is a good deal of luck involved in creating and generating linkbait, but there are things you can do to stack the odds in your favour, and that’s what this blog post is really all about.
Step 1: Identify Your Target
Linkbait isn’t like throwing chum into the ocean in the hope of catching The Big One. You have to start out being specific. Start small. Think of one person. If you can think of one person who would love your idea (and it’s not your mum, bless her) then you stand a chance. If you try to create linkbait on a hunch that there might possibly be some people out there who might be interested in your content, you’ve already stacked your chips in someone else’s favour. Know who you’re creating your content for, before creating it.
Step 2: Identify Your Target’s Needs
When creating linkbait, don’t try to create something your target audience wants. Instead, make sure you create something your target audience needs. That’s quite different. To achieve this you have to think about not only who your target audience is, but what it is they need. What are they looking for? What questions are they asking? What are they discussing on social media platforms? What problems are they experiencing?
Step 3: Identify An Effective Hook
So you’re fishing for links, you have your bait, and you know exactly where you’re going to sling it, but without a hook all you’ll be doing is throwing worms at the water, and that won’t get you very far. A hook is an edge or purpose you give your linkbait content. There are several popular linkbait hooks to choose from, although it’s important to bear in mind that they will not all be suitable for you to use, suitable for your target audience or suited to the type of content you’re creating. But as a guide, these are a few of the more successful hooks people have used:
- News hook – something cutting edge, pulled from the most recent news stories, perhaps statistical in nature
- Contrary hook – this is where you take an opposite view or opinion of something generally accepted. Effectively you play devil’s advocate
- Attack hook – potentially dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, this is content which explicitly attacks a target, belief or business
- Resource hook – the most common example of this is the infographic, accumulating, categorising and disseminating valuable information in a useful way
- Humour hook – not always suitable, but if you can create a humorous look at something related to your industry, a tongue in cheek representation of something or other resource which people will find hilarious, this can be effective
- Ego hook – no, not your ego! This is content which sets out to bolster someone else’s ego by praising their approach, beliefs or content. Obviously this only really works effectively if the person whose ego you’re bolstering is a major player
- Incentive hook – contents, prizes, rewards, free resources, giveaways – basically if it’s something people will want and find useful and you’re offering something for nothing, this incentive can work well
Step 5: Take The Time To Focus On Quality, Not Quantity
Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of rubbish out there, and a lot of people trying to create viral content which will be the next ‘big thing’. The result of which is that these days most people online are very cynical, and will dismiss within a fraction of a second anything which is not exceptional and different in some way. Want to Increase the Odds of Your Content Going Viral? Take a look at the great video below by SEOmoz.
Whether you’re thinking about linkbait content, web page content, article marketing, blog posting or your use of social media marketing, it is no longer a case of quantity, but quality. If you invest the time in carrying out sufficient research, you have an original idea and you create content in a quality way then you significantly increase your chances of success. Obviously plan your work, graphic, chart, poll or YouTube video, and make sure you spend time proofreading it for spelling errors and other potential problems. Remember, the more time you spend perfecting your content or resource, the more time people are likely to spend looking at it, and subsequently sharing it across the web.
If you found this post useful please take a moment to Google+ it, or share it on Twitter or Facebook using the buttons above. Also, please leave a comment below if you have any experience of creating linkbait, or have any questions you’d like answered.
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