Linkbait is a term you may already know well. If not, linkbait can be quickly defined as a type of content, often a blog entry or photo, that has massively general appeal and lends itself to viral distribution. For instance, if you find this post to be exceptionally helpful and you think most of your friends would also enjoy it, you’ll send them a link. Chances are your friends will also enjoy what you sent them and forward the content in turn. This entire process is made simple by social bookmarking sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Sphinn, and Del.ico.us that allow you to “click through” content recommended content. If you are not already signed up with one or more social bookmarking services, take a few minutes and get an account. Understanding how a system promotes your content will prove very helpful when you sit down to write a piece you’d like to see promoted.
Are you using linkbait effectively to promote your blog? You don’t need to have every post be linkbait. In fact, you probably want to avoid having a blog that looks like its only intent is to snatch traffic through social bookmarking. Make sure you are investing the time to create content that establishes your web presence in a specific area. If you want to build your web presence you need to first write down a statement of purpose. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or long. Just take a 3×5 card and write a few lines that describe what you are trying to do with your site. Put your goal in a spot you can easily see from your workstation. Having a goal is most important in writing effective linkbait. Aside from linkbait that rides into town on for the single reason that its content is random or downright strange, the best linkbait is made up of five parts:
- Format: Would an 8th grader who hasn’t had her Ritalin be able to stay focused for your entire post? Effective linkbait explains a concept so the reader can understand a post’s meaning in seconds. A handy trick is to take a draft of your linkbait, bold the minimum a reader needs to see to get your point, and try to edit away the rest of the things you’d like to say but probably shouldn’t because people get bored very quickly.
- Content: Effective linkbait offers a quick sampling of what a reader can expect to find if they subscribe to your blog. Be smart, be conversational, don’t waste anybody’s time. Make sure you offer value to the reader and avoid pushing sales or asking for subscribers within the post you’re promoting. Asking people to promote a post that includes a sales pitch is like asking your buddies to hand out copies of your business card when they go out to dinner. You’d never do that, right? Don’t expect the visitors to your website to push sales for you either. Give the content without any strings attached. It might be hard to watch all the traffic landing on a post without any sales info, but consider that the traffic might never have come had you posted a sales pitch.
- Engagement: Does your linkbait actively work toward achieving the goal you wrote down on that 3×5 card? Even the most engaging linkbait has only a few moments to promote a concept. Use those moments wisely and promote what sets your site apart from others. If your reader is pleased with their experience on your site, they’ll probably return later or keep reading one of your detailed posts and perhaps click through an affiliate link or buy your newest e-book.
- Infection: Are you taking the time to make your linkbait contagious? The viruses that spread the fastest are the ones that are easily transmitted. Make your linkbait more effective by posting buttons for social bookmarking sites like Digg, Sphinn, Deli.co.us, and Stumbleupon in conspicuous places. A quick message like “Hi, thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please pass it on” with one of many available bookmarking buttons will increase your ratings on social bookmarking sites. Think of it this way: you’ve already taken up a reader’s time and focus with your content. Don’t pull down the corners of their smiles by making them work to share your content.
- Conversion: Are you using linkbait to convert readers into subscribers and customers? Effective linkbait increases the number of visits to your site but that number rarely translates directly into comments or clicks. The trick to turning your linkbait traffic into valued traffic comes from the parts of your site that surround the linkbait that drew in the visitors. encourages visitors to click. Invite them to click-to-subscribe, click-to-purchase, and click-to-try.
When readers feel like you’ve given them value, they respond. Effective linkbait will expand your audience and draw more visitors to engage with your site. Offer value, reach out, and be patient. The crowds will soon beat a path to your.