One of my favourite books is The 48 Laws of Power. Not the slimmed down, corporate backstabber edition, but the original tome with all the historical background stories. I just love reading about people like Cesare Borgia and what they got up to.
One of the laws reminds me of what Linkbait is about.
Create Compelling Spectacles
Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.
Graywolf created a compelling spectacle recently.
A compelling spectacle does not have to be comfortable watching, it doesn’t have to be something you agree with, it doesn’t even have to be good.
It does have to hit the emotional sweetspot, it has to stir deep feelings within your soul. Emotion is a great motivator for action. Purchases are mostly made through emotional motivations.
Question: When you link, are you motivated by a cold, analytical process of improving your bottom line or is it that you are so gob smacked by something you had to tell someone about it?
Question: Do you only link to people you like and agree with?
I only think about how the SEO community foamed at the mouth and gave Jason Calacanis a ton of links. Was that motivated by emotion?
Some successful SEO types have a problem with linkbait as their success derives from being great programmers, rather than being able to connect with people emotionally and having a deep understanding of the psychology of diggers.
Of course some can make the leap, but it is not a natural leap from mysql to creating compelling spectacles using emotional linkbait that people cannot resist linking to.
Presently, UK search engine optimisation companies have dismal linkbaiting and social media optimisation services. It takes more than listening to a talk at SES to get into the head of the Digger. It’s not that they don’t get it, they are just not tooled up for the job. Like a factory they have to retool or restaff, but even then it’s that simple.
The social media optimisation companies that have sprouted up offer a far more effective service than the old school, lets-send-them-an-email-and-ask-for-a-link SEO’s.
But I digress, I don’t mean to bash the old school, I merely want to point out that different skills are needed to make the jump into SMO.
Some people think not all industries can benefit. I have a feeling that because they can’t see it being done then it’s impossible. It’s been argued that it’s difficult to create linkbait around something banal like a local carpet cleaner.
“Local woman arrested for cleaning carpets naked”
You may think no one would be interested in a headline such as this, I am sure you think no one reads the National Enquirer either. I find it funny that hardly anyone admits to watching pornography and yet it’s one of the biggest moneyspinners out there. Even General Motors used to be Americas biggest porn king. Imagine all those minivans off to church subsidised by…..
My point being, if you are too snooty to consider a tabloid style headline then maybe linkbaiting is not something you should consider. I’m not saying you have to sink into the gutter, just that connecting emotionally is far more powerful than connecting on a more cerebral level.