Link baiting is derided by many on the web for being sensationalist or downright dishonest, but that really misses the bigger point of what makes for "good" link bait. What is "link bait" anyway? In a nutshell, it's content that attracts others and influences them to share links to that content, which subsequently drives traffic and increases SEO rank and influence. It can be done honestly and effectively, and in my opinion the honest route is actually the most effective. Listed here are 8 tips to get links to your content.
1. You can't go wrong with humor, usually
There is no denying that funny content is one of the best ways to get things shared. People love to laugh, and when people laugh at something they really want to share it with someone else to make them laugh. It's human nature. Just make sure that the content has quality as well as being funny.
2. Be visual
As I've stated in many other articles, pictures, videos, and infographics are powerful ways to grab attention if they are done well. It's a psychological thing: an image can convey tons more information in a lot less time than text alone, and pictures and colors are naturally more appealing to the brain than text.
3. Be the first
It's not very easy to be the first person to break a new story or development these days, with a global network of jacked-in bloggers and journalists. It may happen sometime, but don't spend too much time trying to get the scoop. What is much easier and actually much more effective is to be the first with a particular angle of the story which makes it more interesting. For instance, when Google released Keep a few months ago the most interesting headlines were not the ones similar to "Google releases Keep, a note taking app", but rather the headlines such as "Will Google Keep become the new Evernote?". Playing a unique angle can get you in the door to links quicker.
4. Don't reinvent the wheel
Being innovative is always good, except when it's not. Two types of posts that are proven to always be effective are How-To pieces and Lists. Avoid these at your own peril.
5. Be controversial
You have to be careful when it comes to controversial topics. In other words, don't be a sensationalist. That being said, taking a stance one way or another on an issue that is controversial and in the mainstream consciousness will draw attention, whether it's positive or negative and, quite frankly, whether you are wrong or right.
6. Be timeless
The other side of the coin from controversial topics is to write content that will be as relevant in three or ten years as it is today. The thing to keep in mind here is that in order to be timeless, you have to cover general topics that could get lost in a sea of similar content, so you have to make sure that yours is top-quality. Half-interesting writing or copying others won't cut it.
7. Hold a contest
People like to win and they like to give their opinion, so giving them an outlet to enter to win or to share their thoughts will always be popular, if they can find your article.
8. Build a network
Just because you write something doesn't guarantee that anyone will read it. Posting an article on your blog or on another site doesn't ensure eyeballs, let alone sharing. Having a network of people to share your content with is vital if you want links and a following. This involves some work apart from writing or posting, including networking through social media sites and forums and using good social media management software to track any mentions and schedule your posts for the best times.