Maki over at Doshdosh has a make money online blog and he has outlined four characteristics of successful linkbait, which got me thinking and inspired me to add my own.
What are the characteristics of successful linkbait?
1. A killer headline
A headline is not 50% of the equation. It’s 100% of the first step in the equation, the second being the content that the user consumes. Not getting past the first step means the second step is wasted.
2. Emotional response.
Actions are based on emotion, not rational thought, although some people like to think that. The act of linking to someone requires emotional stimulas. People need a reason, the reason does not have to be rational and the linker does not even have to aware of why they are linking as calling to their sub-conscious is a lot more effective than persuading their conscious.
3. It has to be targeted at linkers.
Linkers as a tribe follow a code, a pattern of behaviour which if followed and cracked can be very profitable. A linker links based on what the content is perceived to provide, not on the reality. Multiple factors come into play when tickling the link out of the linker. Find out who links, why they link, who they link to. Is there a pattern? Follow that pattern.
In psychology there is a technique called modelling, apply that to the linker. Psychologically profile them, hey if Cracker can do it you can.
4. It stands out.
Sometimes you can’t put your finger on it, other times it’s blatantly obvious why it works and you kick yourself for not thinking of it first. You know good linkbait when you see it. It whipsers, “link to me”, gently in your ear. After a while you can tell profesionally written linkbait from the guy who just got lucky.
5. Links make successful linkbait
Seems obvious doesn’t it, but it’s not about getting on the front page of digg. It’s not about any social media front page, it only works as linkbait if someone pulls the trigger and fires a link at you. Other than that it’s just ego tripping. Which is cool to a point, I’ve had front page diggs that got hardly any links. But what a rush getting to the front page of digg for the first time.
Just don’t confuse a front page digg with success.