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2 October 2009

The Ira Glass Guide to Link Baiting

Link bait is described as a natural way to build links on a particular content or feature. It will often attract a large number of readers or viewers. Wikipedia defines link bait as “any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites.” Google engineer, Matt Cutts defines link bait as something “interesting enough to catch people’s attention.”

And really, they’re all right. In its most basic form, link bait is content that is designed to inspire readers to link to it and/or share it with others. But no matter how you define it, the most critical component of any link bait campaign is to generate the desired response: linking.

There are subdivision on link baiting. These are Informational hooks, News hooks, Humor hooks, Evil hooks, Tool hooks and Widgets hooks. But I won't go into a detailed explanation for each of them. Believe me, it may put you off.

The video below is based on Ira Glass storytelling. He is the host of NPR’s This American Life, and in this video he lays out how to produce compelling video, audio, and text content. Notice his use of the word “bait” for those who think link bait is only about controversy.

Here is a list of ideas from Jim Westergren:

  • Make a valuable resource (lists, special reports, history of, how to, etc.)
  • Interview (e-mail/phone) prominent people and publish it.
  • Build a useful tool
  • Write an interesting article
  • Run a newsworthy ‘event’ such as a contest
  • Test something new that has not been done before
  • Be the first in doing something on the internet
  • Write something controversial
  • Be the first to write the latest news in your niche
  • Be the first to expose a scammer
  • Disagree with an authority
  • Write some funny humor
  • Make an interesting picture
  • Be the first to research and document something
  • Make a theme, plugin or piece of software
  • Make a tool that others can put on their sites but that links to you
  • Make a joke about a known person
  • Make a resource that is just in time for a major event
  • Write an outrageous theory and back it up with logics
  • Write useful comments on something that is happening
  • Give something valuable for free
  • Coin a new acronym in your niche and get people to talk about it
  • Become an expert in your niche and write valuable information


Robert said...

Hello Blaise,

I must say that I found this to be a most informative article and I really enjoyed the video. I had no idea there were so many ways to produce "link bait".


Blaise Dominguez said...

Hi Robert

I really appreciate your comment. I also left a comment on your new blog post.

Link bait is buzz-word for SEO and it has been used in every asspect of interet marketing. It comes in various forms that can be used in creative ways to drive traffic to your site. The subdivisions I provided is to categorize different types of link baiting.

Gilson said...

Thank You.

Ms. Freeman said...

This is a very timely post, coming up with linkbait for my blog is next on my list of things to do. Frankly I had no idea where to begin. The list of ideas you provided is a great start.

The video helped to make sense of story building as well. Thanks :)

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