5 Linkbait Ideas Any Blog Can Use
In Max’s recent poll about your favorite topics, the subject of driving more traffic to your blog came in a very close second. In the spirit of giving the people what they want, I want to discuss what I consider to be the single best method of driving traffic… Linkbait. Not only does a great piece of linkbait drive directly, as the term suggest, it also attracts incoming links which in turn generate organic search traffic as well. I don’t know about you, but anything that can generate an immediate wave of traffic as well as a residual flow is something I’m interested in.
Whenever the term linkbait crops up, I almost always hear people complain that it’s a practice that only works for tech or internet related blogs. Not to be harsh, but that thought couldn’t be more wrong. Just to prove my point, here are 5 Linkbait ideas (and a brief description of each) that will work for ANY blog.
10 Myths About…
The principle of linkbait is to provide people with content that is not only interesting, but something that’s noteworthy. You’re goal is to create something that another blogger or webmaster would want to point their friends or readers to. To that end, calling commonly held misconceptions (myths) into question works great. Not only are you implying that these things are incorrect, you’re also stating that a lot of people are wrong about them. For example, if you had a baseball blog, 10 Myths About Steroids or 10 Playoff Myths would immediately draw readers attention and would probably have them pointing other fans or readers to your post. The key here is to pick a popular or controversial topic, and of course, one that has several myths associated with it. Debunk those myths, and even if people disagree with you, links and traffic will begin to pour in.
This linkbait tactic is probably the most difficult on the entire list. However, if you search Digg’s front page stories for the word Lego, you’ll find over 200 results. The basic concept is pretty simple, anything built with Lego’s is automatically 10 times cooler. Some of the most successful examples of this tactic would be a recreation of a battle in Lord of the Rings, the first level of Super Mario Brothers, and an enormous aircraft carrier. Now, I realize that some of you may not have grown up playing with the colorful plastic building blocks, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t still use this method to create a unique piece of linkbait for your blog. Once you figure out the scene or the structure you’d like to recreate, you can either go out and buy a mess of bricks and give it a go yourself, or find the nearest college and I guarantee you there will be more than a few lego experts ready to “work” on your project.
7 Secrets for…
This is another tried and true method of grabbing attention for your post. In reality, most of the great linkbait tactics have been used for years in traditional media sources (newspapers, magazines, etc) and this is no exception. Much like the 10 Myths method above, this makes use of two great pillars of linkbaiting, the list, and exclusivity. The list format tells people that they’ll be able to quickly skim the content and find out what they want to know. For better or worse people reading online often want to digest content in small, scan-able, bite size pieces and lists are built for that.
By throwing in the word “secrets” you’re once again implying that you know something they don’t. Unlike the Myths method, these secrets don’t have to be widely held beliefs, in fact the fewer people that know about them the better. What makes this method so easy to use, however, is that your secrets can be geared to all sorts of different skill or knowledge levels in your niche. For example, you could write “7 Secrets that the Experts won’t Tell You” which could simply be 7 advanced tactics or methods in your niche that the average person doesn’t know. You could also write something along the lines of “7 Secrets of for the (whatever your niche is) Newbie” which would obviously be even more basic and targeted at people who are new to your field. The ability to target different groups of people within your niche or industry is what makes this method so widely applicable and successful.
The Beginner’s Guide to…
Another pillar of the linkbait repertoire is the Beginner’s Guide. In any given niche or industry there are always differing skill levels. If it’s a popular niche, and for your sake, I would hope you picked at least a somewhat popular niche to blog in, there will always be new people being attracted to it. Those people will obviously not have the same skill or knowledge of the niche and therefore, have a lot to learn. The Beginner’s Guide is successful for largely two reasons. The first is that people generally like to have all the information presented to them in one place, if possible. Secondly, those who are more advanced in a given niche, often like to have a single place to direct newbies to that will answer most of the typical questions they have. The advanced members of the community have probably been asked the same set of questions several times and if your guide answers them well, they’ll just point people your way (by linking to your post) rather than answering them over and over. And, if done well, not only will a Beginner’s Guide act as linkbait, it can also establish your site as an authority in your niche
Another linkbait method that any blogger can pull off is an interview. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to your field or an established blogger, an interview with an authority in your given niche will leverage their reputation to draw attention to your blog. While this is an effective linkbait tactic, you shouldn’t take it for granted. Not only can it be difficult to land the interview(s), they’re also becoming more and more common. You’ll still need to be sure to ask questions and gather content that is useful and noteworthy to your readers. Other variations of this method would include several shorter interviews with top members of your industry or interviewing two authorities on the opposite side of a controversial topic.
Linkbaiting is far from an exact science, but these 5 topics can be applied by almost any blog for an immediate influx of traffic and links. If you are seeking to increase the traffic to your site, I’d encourage you to give one of these methods a shot, and let us know how it goes.