When planned and executed successfully, linkbait can have a tremendous effect on your link profile. Linkbait can attract a great deal of traffic and links – organically, which we all know is what the search engines like to see.
When it comes to building links, there are two schools of thought:
1) Apply the tried-and-true methods of finding directories, relevant sites, and contacting webmasters.
2) Develop quality content that is engaging and interesting and attracts links naturally.
As you have probably gathered from the title, this post is regarding creating content that attracts visitors to your site. Though developing content sounds more entertaining than going after diectories and blindly contacting webmasters, developing linkbait can be difficult, expensive and risky.
Why Developing Linkbait is Difficult
The difficulty of developing linkbait is twofold. On one hand, can be difficult to come up with ideas. And on the other, it can also be difficult to convince others in your organization that creating a piece of linkbait is worth the time and money. Creating a well-thought piece of linkbait takes valuable resources away from a company’s normal profit-generating activities. It’s risky because there is not guarantee it will work.
Based on my experiences, I’d like to offer up a few tips that I have found beneficial when it comes to creating content worthy of garnering attention for a company:
1- Come up with an idea.
Personally, I think this is the most difficult component of developing linkbait. Good ideas that work within the unique constraints of a company’s resources can be few and far between. I can’t tell you how to come up with good ideas, but I can throw some tips out there.
2- Target an audience.
First, your linkbait needs an angle and an audience – who is it going to appeal to? Are you going to make something that your audience chuckle s at, or do you want to create a tool they are going to use? Some great examples of different types of linkbait can be found here: 3 Examples of Timely Linkbait to Spur Your Creativity.
3- Go local.
In my experience, the local angle works very well. It’s a great first place to start, as your local audience tends to be a bit more apt to promote something that is specifically about them. If you don’t live in a larger city, pick the closest major metro area to you, and start scouring event calendars, read newspapers, follow local blogs, and find out what’s going on.
4- Research your area’s events.
See if there are any major events on the horizon, if the city was recently nominated for an award, a big play is coming to town, or there’s a festival coming soon. Create a calendar, or some sort of map to help organize your options. This will help you determine which ideas are more feasible in regards to time constraints.
Imagine you are working for the Google of your industry – and you have infinite resources. What would you do? Spend some time thinking, and write down every little idea you have, regardless of how off-the-wall it may seem. Yes, even that idea you had, where you spray paint your Twitter handle on to kittens, and release them around the city. Keep that one.
6- Find your resource constraints.
Hopefully, you have a decent list of ideas down at this point. Now’s the time to begin applying your resource constraints. I’ve found working backwards helps. It’s easier to play the elimination game, rather than limiting potential ideas that might get lost in the mix. Can’t afford 100 kittens? Well, what if you replaced “kittens” with “t-shirts” or “bumper stickers”?
After applying resource constraints, be sure to keep a few ideas in the running, just so you have some different options to present.
7- Execute your plan.
Once you’ve got your baseline strategy in place, you’re ready to launch into production.
I felt inspired to contribute this post, as I’ve had a few successes with locally focused linkbait. Hopefully some of the tactics mentioned in this article can help you on the path to creating more linkbait.
Scott Dodge is a Search Engine Marketer at Internet Exposure, a Minneapolis Web Design agency. Internet Exposure provides SEO, web design, web development, Internet marketing, web hosting, and tech support services to clients all over the world.