We use some pretty weird terminology in cyberspace. Cyberspace is one, but there’s also blogosphere, social proof, black hat, white hat, backlink, and, well, you’ve probably heard several more. But three particular terms seem to be getting a lot chatter lately: Linkbait, Socialbait, and Viral Content. What are they? What’s the difference? And why do you need to know? Let’s take a look.
What is Linkbait?
Linkbait is content that begs other bloggers to link out to it. In essence, you’re fishing for backlinks. For example, you might put together the definitive post that answers the question “What is the meaning of life?” This post will be so brilliantly written and so packed full of information that every other blogger on the Internet will link to it and cite it as a resource.
There is no single type of content that causes other bloggers to link to you. It might be a video, an infographic or a podcast. It might be informative content, humorous content, or something that stirs up controversy. But whatever it is, it must be content that establishes you as a credible, reliable source of information.
If you’re citing facts and statistics then you should back them up with links to your sources. If you’re touching on a controversial topic then you should present it fairly and objectively. In other words, your linkbait article should be written as a resource for other bloggers to link to to back up their own statements and arguments.
What is Socialbait?
Socialbait is content that makes everyone who reads it want to rush to the Facebook page and share it. In this case you’re fishing for likes, shares, tweets, pins, or whatever the term is in your favorite social networks.
When creating socialbait you should focus on sharable content. That’s not to say that quality and credibility aren’t important. But look at what gets shared in the social networks you’re targeting. For example, on Facebook humorous images are the most shared content, followed by videos. Depending on your niche your readers might like to share lists posts or how-to posts, or other types of content as well.
With Linkbait content you want to focus on providing the type of information that other bloggers can cite as a resource. With Socialbait content you want to focus on content that readers like to share.
What is Viral Content?
Viral content is typically something that causes a strong, emotional reaction – quickly. It’s something that has a powerful message, that anyone can understand without having any prior knowledge of the topic. That’s why those cute puppy and kitten pictures go viral all the time. Anyone looking into those eyes immediately understands the message, whether they’ve ever owned a puppy or not.
The Numa Numa video is a perfect example. You didn’t need to be able to understand the language, you didn’t need to like the song, but you were instantly happy and it made you laugh out loud and that’s why that video went viral.