Forget what you’ve heard, it’s not easy to write or create content that people will want to automatically share, or link to.
It’s often assumed that just because you’re writing content that relates to a client/company/proposition, then you’re automatically guaranteed a link.
Not the caseI’m not a huge believer in writing content after content, hoping somehow your writing/creativity will get better. Sure, there’s a sort of ‘filtering process’ but what’s the point in using that if you’re not being taught correctly during this process?
A Quick Look at Link Bait
In short, link bait is content on your website that other sites link to because they want to, not because you ask them to.
Linkable sources come in many different forms, whether its a blog post about gaming, an eBook about cooking, or a viral video, these are just a few examples.
Types of Link Bait
No matter what, always remember the golden rule…
Great content always serves as great link bait.
Remember These Points…
When creating your content, ensure that the content is link-worthy, i.e., are people going to want to share it on all forms of social media? If so, why? This will help pin-point successful themes in your content for next time.
It’s also important to remember that anchored links carry more weight than social media shares. Whilst shares may hold the potential to reach large audience numbers, an anchored link is immovable and – if the website you’re linked to is good – it will hold stable traffic.
This is a cruel world, whilst a 4,000 word informative article on how to get rid of pigeons may look and sound like it should get more links, more often than not, you’ll be beaten by your competitor who’s posted a picture of a cute cat.
The overall aim of link baiting is to engage your audience to the extent where they can’t help but share it. The key is knowing your audience, if they want help on how to fix a car, supply a step-by-step guide, they want a list of the top 10 new apps, give them a review, if they like cats, share cats.
Using the Term ‘Breaking News’
The link bait of all link baiting.
Breaking news assumes that what you’ve just seen is of incredible importance and worth sharing. When writing about a ‘new’ event, product or whatever it may be, it’s incredibly important that you will link to relevant news articles that can backup your claims and information. So for example, if we were to do an article on Sony’s brand new console, we’d source timely resources (and link to them) thus providing our audience with as much useful and up-to-date information as possible.
Does what it says on the tin. Timeless content is content that no matter how far down the years, it will still be relevant (at least to some extent). Content such as covering the new Mac Book isn’t going to be relevant 5 years down the line.
When you’re creating this lasting content – also known as evergreen content – there are a few important things to consider:
- Is this a topic that’s currently being talked?
- Will this content last/be helpful in a year?
- Who/are people searching for this content?
- If an idea is already out there, can I/how can I improve it?
Quizzes and Games
These are another fantastic option for link baiting and are becoming more and more popular.
This is a concept that can yield massive returns if conducted properly. The most popular quiz ‘strategy’ is rewarding the readers with a medal, badge or something that certifies their score or answer, so to speak. Understandably, this concept has been done to death, so it’s up to you on how you want to make your quiz original.
Pretty Pictures and Infographics
It’s a common fact that a picture is better than no picture in almost any circumstance.
Social media begs for pictures, Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, all the giants almost demand that you have a profile picture, a banner, or something that people can look at. In short, for a visual learner, an image can be worth a thousand words.
In truth, it’s fairly simple to find someone who can design an attractive infographic, or use an infographic tool such as Piktochart to design your own. The difficult part comes in the shape of making your design original and compelling. More often than not, infographics, when designed, simply convey a message that may have been better written, wasting both time and resources.
So, have a think if an infographic is truly the bets way to present your information. If not, there’s not shame in conveying the message through written-word.
Another very effective medium. Sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion are fast-becoming the forefront of news and entertainment. YouTube for example sees millions of people tune in every day to watch their favourite vloggers, gamers, comedy shows, the list goes on.
Why are videos so successful in obtaining shares and reach? Because they’re the most accessible. Short videos depicting anything from funny animals to shocking facts are very easily digestible in few minute bursts, as opposed to reading an article, for example. Embedding your links into these videos make seeing them unavoidable for your audience, as you don’t have to hide them in the corner of your website.
These are used frequently, though, I myself don’t rate them too highly (they make the list due to others finding success using them).
The short of it is that your audience are invested simply because they want to win. There are many ways to choose the winner:
- Sharing your content/link/image
- Tagging your friends (the more the better)
- Liking/subscribing to their page
Scholarships are also becoming increasingly popular. Even if the scholarship is worth $500, people will still be interested. If you plan to award it yearly, it can act as evergreen content.
Also, universities are always on the search for scholarships to link to as a financial resource for their students.
Marketing Link Bait
“Hold on, I thought link bait was all about obtaining natural links right?” So, why would you need to think about marketing the linkable assets? Surely people will just link to them?
Unfortunately, no. That’s not how it works.
Marketing your link bait is essential to success. From sharing your content on the appropriate channels, to creating a press release, these first steps play an incredibly important role in the discovery and rise of your content.
Think of it this way, how come all of these memes and viral videos you see go viral? Why them? In short, it’s because they’ve been published/promoted in the right places.
The important thing to remember is to keep your social post as inviting and attractive as possible. Take advantage of GIFs, preview images, twitter cards, videos and other quirky social features.
Sharing is also essential, what’s the point of spending time creating something fantastic if you can’t share it?