Link bait seems to have cropped up in 2005, Nick Wilson has the earliest mention of the term I have found, although I have not looked that hard. The point of this post is not to detail the history of linkbait, nor how to do linkbait or even what is linkbait.
There are far better people than me to go into that lot.
Lets take it from another angle.
You’re at a dinner party and someone says “You know, I really think George Bush is actually quite bright”. Everyone stops talking, mouths are open, everyone stares at the speaker. Of course you may not find the statement that shocking, but here in the UK it would be quite a bombshell.
The dinner party then descends into a somewhat heated debate about silver spoons, Harvard and Neo Conservatism, amongst other things.
If it was on the web they would label it linkbait.
– I thought you weren’t going to give us defintions of link bait?
I’m not going through a list of what does and does not define linkbait, I am merely thinking laterally to help juice up your creativity.
– Oh, carry on then.
You know those people who are always good for kicking things off, who seem to raise a controversial subject and then step back to watch the fun. That’s linkbait. I used to do it a lot in my younger days. It was kinda easy to find those buttons on people, to discover that sweet spot, that when pressed can provide hours of amusement as they rant about the price of Lemons and EU subsidies to Glockenspiel manufactures.
Of course I would never do that now, unless I am writing a blog post.
After finally getting linkbait and the whole social media thing – this came after over a year reading and digesting information – I find I am writing my blog titles in a more provocative manner. I keep the “boy eats own head” title which ran in the National Enquirer in the shallow depths of my sub-concious. Long with the fact that dog bites man is not news whereas man bites dog is.
Think about how many people blogged about Yahoo buying Mybloglog and how many articles you actually needed to read.
But it’s not just about controversy, at least not to me. It’s about starting conversations, which is the beautiful thing about wordpress or any other blog. It encourages the sharing of thought and ideas.
I wish more bloggers would answer comments, sometimes a blogger can simply step back and let the conversation develop by itself. But mostly they never bother commenting on some really good stuff shared by their readers.
I find the buzz of writing an article which gets picked up by other bloggers and linked to, commented and talked about is a real buzz. Starting the conversation and being part of a conversation about somethin which you care about can be better than simply making money from it, which is nice because this blog isn’t monetised.
This blog is a place where I can start conversations and meet people, make contacts and maybe do a few projects with the people I meet.
It’s like me inviting you to my home, putting on a pot of coffee and having a chat with you.
What would happen if I stood in the street yelling, “Is George Bush Stupid? Come into my house and chat with me”. It’s not an experiment I wish to do but if you try it out let me know how you get on.
So is link bait a waste of time?
– Finally he gets to the point.
It can be. If all you want is a few hits for your spamsense site then the true power of linkbait is wasted. It’s a smash and grab philosophy. But if you want to indulge in long term reputation building and invite long conversations into the wee the hours of the night, it can be very rewarding and not just financially.
My point. Link bait is about starting conversations on topics you decide.
– I thought link bait was about getting links?
It is, but I see getting links as part of the conversation.