Linkbait Campaign: Create and Launch One in 4 Easy Steps

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You’ve seen linkbait, I’m sure. It’s that infographic you shared on Facebook or that humorous image you posted to Tumblr. Linkbait is that once piece of content out of hundreds or thousands that makes you sit up and say “I gotta share this!” or “I gotta link to this in my next blog post!” We all want to create that next piece of viral content but it usually doesn’t just “happen.” Creating linkbait takes some planning and the way you launch it helps, too.

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Now, I’m kind of on the fence when it comes to linkbait. I’ve seen bloggers spend hours or days creating the perfect content only to watch it fizzle and die. There’s no predicting what’s going to happen on the Internet. You can plan your content and your launch down to the last detail and right when you launch a UFO will land in Kansas or something and that’s what everybody’s talking about. Your expertly crafted linkbait? Pffft! Forget it.

I’ve also seen linkbait that worked. It attracted tons of links. For a short period of time the blogger had a huge increase in traffic. Was it targeted? Not really? Did it convert? Not much? Was it at least worth the time and effort he put into the linkbait? No.

Personally, I believe the best linkbait is the unplanned linkbait. That killer blog post that’s packed with wit and wisdom, that you just happened to write at the same time the stars were lining up in the “real world.” Like, you decided to do a blog post about the top 10 funniest UFO movies of all time just as that UFO was landing in Kansas.

When I think of linkbait and viral content I always think of the Numa Numa guy. That guy didn’t put any planning into that video. It was a spontaneous reaction. He was sitting in front of his computer and decided to shoot of video of himself lip syncing that song and upload it to You Tube. The rest is history. So, yeah, I think there’s something to be said for spontaneity.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, here are 4 easy steps for creating linkbait if you’re the type that prefers to plan everything out.

You need remarkable content: It should go without saying, but here it is: If you want people to link to your content then you need to be unique, extraordinary and remarkable.

You need to create a desire to link: Your content must create an immediate desire: I gotta share this!

You need a “hook: Successful linkbait causes a strong emotional reaction and this is your “hook.” It can be a strong reaction to a news story or a remarkable resource piece. Humor is another great hook and controversy always gets links.

You need to time your launch: Unless you have a tremendous online following it rarely works to just publish your linkbait by yourself. Collaborate with some of your blogging buddies. Include their links in your remarkable piece of work and they’ll be more inclined to help promote your content. If possible, get someone else to share your link in their social networks and then go give them a thumbs up yourself.

Keep in mind: The Internet is unpredictable. You might think you’ve just published the most mundane blog post of your life and it could get links out the wazooo. And next week, you could spend hours trying to repeat the process and get no links at all. Don’t spend more time than you can afford trying to create linkbait. Work on creating remarkable content all the time and those links will come in at a steady pace – which is really what you want, anyway.

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  1. Clive Roach

    You are right, having a highly linked blog is not easy and almost impossible to plan, but these tips will help many people to get that little bit closer

    1. Thanks for your comment Clive! I hope it will help some people.

  2. Very true! The first time an article from my blog was a success i was surprised because I didn’t think it was really special.

    Now I think that what you can do is trying to promote your blog articles in the right places because even if it’s interesting just for a niche audience it can still reach many thousands of potential readers if it becomes a linkbait within the right group of people.

    1. You’re totally right Massimo. Getting viral is as much a matter of “when” and “where” than a matter of “what”.

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