Is This The Best Title Ever?
Successful link baiting results in many natural backlinks from quality sources which is exactly what Google likes to see, so it is a pure ‘whitehat‘ method of link building. Although whitehat, link baiting is often seen as something of a dark art and it doesn’t always work so well, but it is not really too difficult to create and the benefits can be huge when it does work so it is worth taking some time to carefully plan a link bait campaign.
Link bait can come in a number of forms but the thing to remember is that you are creating content which acts as bait in order to catch fish in the form of links on other sites. So of course your bait has to be a tasty morsel, it has to stand out from the background and attract the attention of passing fish in the big internet pond. The content can be articles or infographics or video or anything else you can publish online but it must be compelling and unique and if news related, it must be the first to get seen out there.
Types of Link Bait
Commonly used types of link bait include:
Humour – everyone likes something funny, if you can make someone laugh then chances are they will want to tell others and so they will post it on their sites or Facebook pages or on Twitter or wherever else they hang out online.
Shock & controversy – create content specifically to shock people one way or another. Radio ‘shock jocks’ are expert at this method, learn from them. Say or display something controversial and you will elicit a reaction, although it may not be the reaction you hoped for so be careful! Remember that free speech does not mean free from the consequences of what you say..
Data reports – doing some in-depth custom research which you can then present using eye-catching infographics is a great method and if you’re the only one presenting that data in that particular way, you will get attention.
Contests – everyone likes to win something and contests have been used in marketing since long before the internet existed but they transfer very well to link baiting campaigns. Think of a cool prize, something relevant but also likely to be popular with your audience.
News – if you can be the first to break some big news, you have yourself some prime link bait. Just make sure you get it out there everywhere fast! These days when almost everyone has a camera phone with them, not to mention Meerkat, means you have some serious competition for getting the news out first – on the other hand the opportunities for capturing images or video of happening events are now much more likely.
Common aspects to all forms of link bait are that it should be remarkable and designed to provoke an emotional reaction.
This is arguably the most difficult part so it is worth preparing in advance. Creating your unique, remarkable link baiting content is not enough on its own, you need to make sure there are people around to see it and that they will also actually notice it when it appears in front of them. You need to seed it to your followers on various social networks or forums or post on sites where you are allowed to post your links (don’t spam!) and where other people will likely see it and hopefully spread the word through their sites and networks. Social bookmark/discussion sites such as Reddit are another great way to get your links out there.
Build up your followers on Twitter and Facebook and every other social site, build a good reputation on forums and discussion systems so people will accept when you post your own link now and then, plus you can often add it to your signature so it will always be visible in every forum post you make. In other words create and engage with your audience before you actually need them.
A popular tactic to get attention on fast moving social sites such as Twitter, is to make sure the article title is also baiting the viewer – check out what the tabloids do for their news article titles and have a look at the massive viral sites online such as viralnova, upworthy, buzzfeed, boredpanda and others and you will quickly see a common set of title templates used. In fact I used one for the title of this article – “is this the best <something> ever?”. Such titles really work and help get attention for your articles, to get them shared more and ultimately to attract more links.
To extend your reach and get potentially much more attention and links you should reach out to influencers or in other words send an email to relevant people with large social followings to tell them about your new article. This tactic works better if the article actually mentions and links to the influencer as well but if you really want to get them to share your link you need to build a relationship with them first – get on their radar and provide value to them.
To give your bait a little extra push you can also try some paid amplification which shows your link to people who are interested and who will then hopefully share it. You can easily do this with cheap adverts on networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and others.
Ultimately it all boils down to ensuring you bait your hook well and dangle it in front of the fish you want to catch – sooner or later those fish will bite!
Have you tried link baiting? What are your favourite titles?