You were that kid in the family. The kid who was disappointed on family fishing outings because your fish wasn’t the biggest, or maybe it just wasn’t as big as you wanted. Your kid brother or sister would catch a ridiculously small fish and grin at the camera, fully satisfied with the catch.
Not you. So you tried different methods—change the fishing location, change the lures, changing the time of day. Then, one day on the Discovery channel, you notice that the little fish attract the big fish, and BAM! An idea is born!
That is link baiting. You’re not trying to get the little fish to get your bait. (Not that you mind the little guys at all!) You’re trying to get them to look and to tell their friends so that before long, all the fish are waving their fins wildly and blowing bubbles about your bait.
Then, the big fish can’t help but notice. You aren’t trying to sell a product but to get the link—the bubble-blowing, fin-flapping kind of links. You are trying to get people to notice you because your content, your link bait, is irresistibly delicious.
You can throw corn kernels in the water all day and attract (and even catch) those little sunfish, but that’s not gonna get the kind of fish you want. Quality. That’s what you need—quality content that can’t be resisted, that attracts the kind of people you want and encourages them to link back to your site.
Before you begin writing your content, ask yourself these three questions:
Write it down. Post it up. Put it in a place where you’ll see it everyday. Keep your goals in focus.
Target identified? Check. Now for the quality content.
Anyone can put together helpful content. It can even contain some quality information, but your content has to do more! Your content needs to make the audience come back for more! To help keep you on the right track as you write link baiting content, ask yourself these 7 questions:
1. Is it intuitive?
Are people going to finish reading your content and go “Huh?” If you’re trying to get people to link to your article on cleaning out your engine coolant reservoir on your car and you have no diagrams and use words few people understand, no one’s going to link to your page. As a writer, you are serving the reader, so make it easy to understand with both your writing style and visual aids.
2. Does it demonstrate expertise?
Use numbers. Quote sources. Get guest writers who have expertise on the subject. Don’t write fluff. You want to gain your readers’ trust. Trust is a hard thing to gain and harder still to regain.
3. Does it provide useful information?
Interesting is good, yes, but if it isn’t informative, your readers won’t come back for more. What are some areas that your readers will need to know about or how to do? Be that source for them.
4. Is it unique?
Give them something different. If everyone else is doing or saying what you’re saying, why should your website be anyone’s first choice? What little tips can you highlight? Are you a painting expert? Add some décor ideas or spackling advice or what to do when your little dog falls asleep in the freshly painted corner of the room and has paint stuck to his fur. Be where your reader is.
5. Does it relate to your target audience?
What personality would your readers like? What kind of personality do you want your site to have? Are you the sarcastic, dry-humored kind of content provider? Are you the well-polished expert? Are you the friendly advice giver? What kind of personality can you create that will make your readers enjoy reading your content?
6. Does it address a newsworthy event?
Keep up with the news—not just headline news. Who are your readers? What kind of news would interest them? Are they interested in hearing about how Kim Kardashian is dating Kanye West? Do they want to know about the latest advances in science, a play-by-play of last night’s tennis match? Don’t just report it! Remember how we talked about the information being unique? Add your opinion or someone else’s controversial opinion. People link to that kind of content!
7. Does it appeal to a wide variety of people?
Remember being a kid in school when the teacher tried to get you to learn that 2+3=5? So you drilled and drilled and drilled. Then she asked you what 2+3 was and you didn’t know. Had she given you French fries to hold or made you hop around the room, you could have gotten the answer. Here’s a little secret: your readers are all different from each other! Find some way to appeal to each of them in each post. Add cartoons, embed videos, create a distracting game or amusing noise-maker (ok, maybe not the noise-maker).
Your job as a link baiter is to attract and keep the attention of your online fishes. Keeping the attention can be the hard part, so remember—these content checks aren’t one-time only activities. Make your readers confident that your content is the best. Drop in that bait and watch the little fishies swarm around your deliciously irresistible expertise.
7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Create Good Link bait