The techniques I looked at yesterday are good starting points engaging in them doesn’t guarantee that they’ll succeed.
Everyday many bloggers write lists, run contests, develop quizzes, break news (etc) and yet their posts get no links (I’m sure we all know the feeling of a post that we have a lot of hopes for going unnoticed).
So what other factors come into play with linkbaiting? Here’s a six that come to mind:
1. Be Lucky – as I think back over the posts that I’ve written that have had the most success in terms of incoming links I have to admit that despite my best intentions and efforts that luck usually plays some role. On many occasions it all comes down to the right person linking to you at the right time which triggers others to link which triggers someone to digg you, which in turn triggers other links…. (you get the picture). Of course luckiness isn’t something we have much control over (although I think there are some things you can do to be luckier).
2. Make People Talk - think about the linkups you do on your own blog. Why do you link up? I guess I equate the link up to being something like the conversation starters that happen at our place each Sunday morning when V and I sit in bed reading the newspapers that we get delivered on the weekend. As we read we point out to each other the things that interest us, that are relevant to our lives, that we agree or disagree with – the things that make us want to tell someone about what we’re reading. Write in a way that makes people want to tell someone and if that person has a blog or website they probably will.
3. Choose Smart Topics – picking the right topic is key with linkbaiting. I could write a great list on the art of choosing deodorant but it wouldn’t be successful simply because it’s on a topic that very few people would be interested in (unless there’s some closet deo-blogosphere out there that I don’t know about). However if you pick a topic that scratches the spot where lots of people are itching and you’re another step along the way to the links coming in.
4. Present Your Posts Well - once you’ve got the right topic you then need to think about how to present it. Much could be written about this ranging from choosing a good title (especially important) to copy writing skills to setting your post out in an accessible fashion (basically head over to copyblogger and read Brian’s archives).
5. Target Key Links – sometimes it takes a little push to get the ball rolling and at times you should consider doing some self promotion if you want to get your posts noticed. I don’t do this on every post (in fact I probably only do it on 1 in 30 or more) but from time to time if I’ve written a post that I know is highly relevant for the audience of another blog I’ll send them a short email letting them know about it (I’ve written some tips on how I do it here). Selecting which blogs to send such emails to is especially important – for me it is partly about the popularity of that blog but even more important to me is relevance to the post I’ve written. Also consider not only the raw numbers of the other blog but the influence that it has with other bloggers (ie there are some blogs out there that get quoted a lot by other bloggers – if you’re after the linking to become viral these can be good to target).
6. Make it Easy to Pass on - the easier you make it for readers to pass on a link to your post or to spread the news about it the more likely they are to actually do it. Check out some of the plugins out there that enable readers to bookmark your post on social bookmarking sites like digg, reddit and delicious. While these don’t directly bring in links the do get you post some extra attention and if they make it big the links will definitely follow. Another good way to get other sites to pass on your link is to give them something to do it with. Cartoon bloggers offer code for people to post their work for free (with an embedded code), quizzes offer bloggers a button to post telling others the results (with an embedded link) etc. This isn’t possible for all types of linkbait but if you put your mind to it you might come up with a way.