You know what linkbaiting has been getting a bum wrap lately. Everyone from Nick W, to Eric Ward, to a majority of the readers at copyblogger. Well I’m going to take the unpopular and politically incorrect stance of defending link bait.
To sum up this problem I’m going to borrow a quote from Cool Hand Luke, “what we have here is a failure to communicate”. Many of the people who seem to be bothered by this “linkbait” term mostly have an issue with the word “bait”, and connotation that it implies tricking or deceiving someone into doing something they aren’t aware of or don’t want to do. For example putting up a post entitled something like “13 Secrets to Leading a Deeply Meaningful and Spiritually Fulfilling Life” followed by flickr pictures of the the prizes from 6 boxes of cracker jacks and 7 Chinese fortune cookies scrolls. That’s not link bait, that’s just a street flasher doing his thing.
When I talk about link bait I talk about something that’s going to get you links. It may be a single kick ass content post or it may be a series of posts spread over several days. Maybe it’s creating some funny videos on youtube or putting up some goofy pictures on flickr. Whatever it is the content is it’s going to deliver. It’s going to educate, entertain, or engage the reader or viewer. Maybe it will make them think, laugh or cry. But no matter what it does when I get your attention and sit you down and tell you my story, it’s going to deliver. Is everybody going to like my story … nope, but not everybody likes pepperoni on their pizza either, and that’s ok.
I’m an attention whore, I admit it, I’ve got a big ego, and I need to feed it. There aren’t many things that get me excited as crafting an idea into something valuable, workin’ it, and seeing the traffic, and links come rolling in, plain and simple I like kickin’ it up to 11.
Sure some people complain that I’m creating unnecessary hype, and great content is all you need to get links. Puuuuhleeze, either lead follow or get out of the way. Content without promotion is like locking William Shakespeare in a closet to write for you, you’ll have great novels that no one will ever know about or read.
So C’mon lets grow up and get over this anti-linkbait posturing and naive self serving belief that you’re not selling something. Whether it’s a product, idea, or just a story you are selling it. In the end what you need is great content combined with great promotion. Don’t be afraid to get up and blow your own horn from time to time and stop waiting for other people to do it for you.