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Viral content marketing is widely accepted to be the most effective way of getting out appealing messages to the widest possible audience in the shortest possible time. It combines creativity and marketing to killer effect.
You’ve heard of it before under another name: link bait. Content that is placed specifically to attract attention and generate links. There used to be rules for link baiting – make it controversial, make it stand out from the crowd. Really it’s all part of the same deal. Make it interesting and relevant and people will come.
Types of Link Bait
There are more types of link bait under the sun than are dreamed of in all your philosophies. Traditional types (as outlined above, mostly controversial, educational or entertaining) still work, as do:
Stuff that is the first of its kind
Stuff that attacks other stuff, though you have to be careful where, when and how you attack anything in the social circle. I would say never, offense eventually comes back to bite you, but it does work in the short term
- Games or widgets with high relevance and fun quotients.
Basically you are looking for content that does two things: is genuinely useful (even making someone laugh is a use, don’t forget); and is of high quality. Throw these two things into the mix and make sure you add a dash of scalability: the more evergreen your asset, the more links it attracts over the longest period of time.
Good link baiting generates traffic. It ensures that you rank consistently for good keywords. And it consistently magnetises you for new links.
If people are coming to your site fascinated to find out more, they are already prepared to love your brand. Your link bait content will normally evince a strong personality, which will in turn create an impression in the minds of people encountering it. So be sure that the bait you use is in line with your brand personality even when you are being controversial.
Play the Game
Let’s say you have used a widget or a themed game to bait some links. If you use a brilliant game that has no conceivable link to your brand, the long tail effect of that link in the mind of your inbound visitor is pretty weak. If, on the other hand, you use a game that either has clear relevance to your business or is in some way in line with your company personality, then the long tail effect of the link will be long and fruitful. You will become “that site” – the one that has a great sense of humour, or is an authoritative source of information about stuff in your area.
We all know what Google thinks of authority. Over a period of time, consistent link baiting turns you into a number one ranked site in your area of industry.
Strategise for Success
What we’re talking about here (again) is strategy and research. You can’t create link bait content that baits the right people (your untapped core audience) unless you have significant data on the kinds of things that your core audience enjoys. And where do we get that?
Right first time. Social media. If you don’t analyse the kinds of things you are attempting to do, to see who links to them, how frequently they get linked to and how relevant they are to your industry, then you might as well go throw pennies down a magic well.
Don’t be Afraid to Scrape Content
Don’t scrape it word for word – get it rewritten. And combine content from different authoritative sources to create the final authority on the subject you have chosen. Your goal is simple – to beat everyone else and provide the final, ultimately authoritative piece of link bait on the subject in question. So see what everyone else already has and compile the best bits of it into something even better.
Link baiting is the key to consistent high rankings – and a loyal following. Don’t ignore any opportunity to delight your core audience.