Linkbait has always been a more creative and enduring aspect of content marketing. As valuable as it is, it is often substituted for easier or more commonly used linkbuilding outreach campaigns. If you were to ask Google what types of links they preferred, they would undoubtedly recommend that your company earn links through awesome content rather than seek links through friendly guest blog posting or social media. Even though killer linkbait is to be desired, the process of actually creating something that people want to link to is a bit more challenging than it may appear.
With some creativity and a good plan of action good linkbait can be created. It can also yield the types of results you’d want to come from something that takes so much time and effort. Here are four tips to creating killer linkbait that you can use as a guide to earn links.
1. Choose an Objective First
Beyond just earning links creating linkbait should have some purpose that benefits your end user as well as your brand. The content you create should relate back to your products or services so that it potentially leads to sales or blog subscriptions (for example). Creating link bait just for the sake of links is fine and well but we recommend going the extra mile to create something that can potentially be monetized to reap the full benefit or your efforts.
Your objective can be to bring awareness to a specific product or service, attract the attention of a specific demographic or niche, increase downloads of an industry report, showcase your involvement in an area like action sports (Red Bull anyone?), or even to educate consumers on relevant information.
In one example of a company creating linkbait that also created a PR buzz, take Groupon’s ‘name your baby coupon’. This $1,000 voucher was a PR stunt that gained publicity across huge platforms such as Mashable and Huffington Post. They also sold five of the vouchers.
2. Know Your Niche User/Benefactor
It is extremely difficult to create linkbait that caters to everyone, everywhere. For this reason linkbait is generally most successful when you cater it to a specific niche. If your company has created buyer personas, you can look to these end users as the main benefactor of your linkbait and create something that is highly valuable to them. As a good rule of thumb, the best type of link bait will be very niche and will be of extremely high value to that niche. You can’t please everyone all the time but you can please some of the people a lot of the time if you adhere to this way of doing things.
3. Data Presentation
Most really powerful pieces of linkbait will include some piece of data. To really shine in this area you will have to provide data in a way that has never been shared before or conduct your own survey. Merely taking what has already been published, putting your own twist on it, and pushing it out will not likely get the types of links that you’d like. Here are some examples of popular linkbait data:
- Industry surveys– If you have a lot of really great information from survey data taken specifically in your industry you can always publish this kind of content in several different forms. Your most effective form of presentation might be a website article but you might also want to explore a white paper, infographic and press release (or all four).
- Comprehensive resource papers– Have you ever downloaded a really comprehensive white paper or pdf that was related to a compelling topic in your industry? Generally these types of content are very well written, cover many facets of a topic, combine a lot of resources with citations, and are second to none in terms of the most powerful content of their kind.
- Data or sales statistics– When there is a lot of information available on sales or data statistics, these can be very powerful pieces of information. If your brand were to compile credible information on say, the sales of online books for 2013, this could be powerful data for other companies in this niche.
To get more ideas about data presentation, simply turn to websites like Pew to learn the exact types of articles that get shared all over the web.
Linkbait by itself will not necessarily just drive traffic and links just because it is live on your website. Creating the linkbait itself can only be half the battle. The other half is getting the linkbait to snowball downhill. Here are some considerations for getting your content in the hands of linkers:
- Optimize your website– Basic SEO fundamentals should be amongst the first steps to having your website indexed for your latest linkbait piece. Make sure it is easy to find your linkbait on your website and consider drawing attention to it from the homepage as well as through your blog. This can make it easier to be found via search engines as well.
- Press Release– If you have created something that is truly newsworthy, compound your efforts by writing and syndicating a press release about it. Ex. “Widget Co. Announces Product X Effects on Climate Change.” In your release, link to your linkbait piece.
- Social Media– Social media is a great way to share your content. After pushing it through your social channels seek out industry leaders on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the other relevant social networks and tell them about your study/article/research. You don’t need to outright ask them to link to you; if your content is good enough they will link to it automatically.
- Email Marketing– If you have a list of previous or current clients who may be interested in your latest work, send them a professional email with a link to the new page on your site and be sure to include why it is of value to them in your email.
- Paid Outreach– In addition to using organic outreach programs, you can also give your linkbait a little extra push with advertising on Google AdWords, through paid ads on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and through content discovery platforms such as http://www.outbrain.com/ and http://nrelate.com/.
Start Your Linkbait Brainstorm Today
It is obvious that linkbait is not something that anyone can create in a matter of seconds. However, there are companies who successfully create linkbait without intentionally trying; they just create content based around end user value-adds. Linkbuilding and its effect on search engine rankings do not appear to be going away any time soon. This is why it is important to make attempts to get links organically rather than inorganically and why generating creative, helpful or educational resources for your end users – creating linkbait – can be a huge win for any brand.