This is a guest post by Vedran Tomic. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Having a blog these days it not enough. Nobody will shake your hand when they hear you have a blog, because everybody and their dogs are already blogging. Competition for online attention is fierce.
But don’t get scared. Even though the blogosphere is crowded, there is always room for remarkable blogs. That is, blogs that have remarkable content, as remarkable content is something people can’t resist.
One way to call remarkable content is linkbait, because it will attract traffic, links and social media attention. Now if you ever wondered how to leverage linkbaits to promote your blog, read on.
1. Developing Linkbaits
Creating remarkable content that has a potential to promote itself is always easier said than done, especially when it is clear that even the best ideas and the most remarkable content usually don’t get very far without adequate launch and promotion.
The first thing to keep in mind is that there are a million ways to skin the linkbait cat, and not a single one of those is better than the others. When it comes to linkbaiting, there is no universal way or rules. You need to try and track the results.
2. The “I Got Link To This” Reaction
Before I start talking about hooks, remember that all the successful linkbiting attempts had one thing in common – the ability to induce “linking reactions”.
In order to get people to link to a piece of content, you have to make them feel strongly about something. You need to create a desire in them to share your content with others.
Here is one example: a news story about a boy who used his dad’s credit card to pay for prostitutes. This was a real linkbait piece, and it attracted thousands of backlinks. Obviously it worked because it raised emotions on its readers.
3. Emotional Hooks
Below we are going to highlight the different emotional hooks that you can use to get people linking to your stories.
To use this hook you have to be the first who breaks the story about something people care about, which is not as easy as it sounds. This hook requires investigative journalism, research, connections and maybe luck.
If executed right, this hook can bring unspeakable amounts of traffic and links in any industry.
This linkbait hook is one of my favorite ones because it is all about helping people save time and learn something. Tutorials, lists, guides etc. all fall into this category.
If you are building resource pages or posts, make sure that there is an audience for your post and that your resource post is truly useful.
Use of this hook tends to bring solid results over time.
There is nothing more rewarding like a laughter, so why don’t you write a set of jokes about your industry, or perhaps create a cartoon or a funny video? This works very well if you make fun of leaders in your niche with a sense of humor.
It’s important to be careful – you do not want to offend anyone. Be respectful.
Is there a company or a person in your industry that is not very well liked? Is there a topic that is controversial?
Expressing your opinion in regard to those issues could yield to large amounts of backlinks, as other people will certainly want to chime in, either defending or attacking your point of view.
4. Launching your link bait
Picture this: You had a great idea, something that nobody covered before. It took you 40 hours to finish the research and writing. You finally published it. And all you could hear after a few days was the beautiful sound of crickets chirping. Sad, isn’t it?
But how could it happen to you?
Well, it’s nothing personal, just human nature, especially in this day and age when we get bombarded with all sorts of marketing messages every second of the day. Everyone is fighting for attention. People find it hard to care in addition to being lazy and having a chronic lack of attention.
Even the most remarkable content will not get you very far without a proper launch.
Prepare the field before you launch
Ideally, you will include other bloggers from your vertical in the process of linkbait creation. You can ask for advice or ask a few questions. You can even link to them as the contributors to your linkbait.
The principle behind this is simple. Collaboration leads to people having to feel that the content is theirs as much as it is yours, which, in turn, makes them treat it that way. That way you get free promotion, and they maybe get a link.
But it doesn’t have to be that cooperative.
You can spend a month before the launch socializing with publishers from your industry. Help them and do a favor for them; they will offer to promote your content when you discuss it with them.
People love to help people. It is one of our instincts.
Make sure that you collect emails from web publishers you associate with, bloggers and webmasters alike. Their help will be very important when the launch time comes.
How many followers do you have on Twitter?
A better digital substitute for the word of mouth than Twitter is probably not going to be invented for a long time. Twitter can bring more traffic than you can dream of if you use it right.
How many friends can you mobilize to tweet for you?
If you are confident about your content and feel that it will spread like wild fire, you could even buy some PPC ads or sponsored reviews.
Try to negotiate a few days of display ads running on the biggest blog in your vertical.
Do all this in addition to StumbleUpon ads that work wonders in a lot of industries for a very affordable price of a nickel per visitor.
Get power users of social news to vote for your content
Don’t submit your linkbait by yourself. It is almost always a very bad idea. Despite the fact they look democratic, social news sites are never democratic in nature.
Most of them are controlled by a relatively small circle of users. Your mission is to get one of those users to submit your content and then do whatever you can to get as many votes, diggs, propellers etc to get your content to the front page.
A social media victory like this will usually get you a mountain of traffic and a bunch of links as an icing on the cake.
When you prepare everything, pick a time of launch and a time window for announcing your linkbait in all available channels.
Vedran Tomic blogging about SEO, local search and link building at SEO Rabbit.