The Problem With Linkbait

When you have every social media marketing blog loaded in your RSS reader, you soon come to identify a problem within the space. The problem is the term Linkbait, it is overused, misused and stretched to cover almost all content ever published on the web.

Different definitions of linkbait I have heard:

You get the picture.

When talking to a client I find the term initially useful, but then I have to back track and quickly re-educate so we are on the right track. More often than not they have read a few posts around the space and picked up a distorted view of what it is and more importantly what it is not.

  • It is not the answer to all your online marketing prayers.
  • Linkbait should be mixed up with other types of content
  • Linkbait should be targeted, with specific objectives in mind.

Strong opinion is not linkbait, just as a fire engine is red, it doesn’t make a telephone box a fire engine ( the old British ones that is) so when content gets links, it doesn’t make it linkbait.

A lot of this blog is built on linkbait, but it is also built on what I would call, conversational blogging. It’s important to differentiate the two as they have different styles and are used for different objectives.

Why is all this important? Defining online marketing techniques means they can be discussed, shared. improved, argued about, redefined. If you have a label which is being misused, such as “linkbait”, then it muddies the waters.

I’m sure you could argue that all blogging is conversational. Maybe a year or two ago, but blogging has also become an overused term.

I think using the two techniques of conversational blogging and linkbait can be very powerful. It works for me.

6 thoughts on “The Problem With Linkbait”

  1. Hey, I read what you contributed over at hubspot, thanks! I only just got into stumbling, so it was really useful.

    Thanks also for the clarification on link baiting. I have heard lots of definitions floating around the space. Sometimes, I think people just like to throw new buzz words around, without necessarily caring about the definition of terms 🙂

  2. Hey, I found your blog via Twitter so I guess it’s working well as a PR tool after all!

    Good points about link baiting – especially about it being targetted. I also think it should have a long term view, not just provide a short term ego boost, which can actually affect the long term view. (i.e. a strong opinion that just happens to make you look really silly!).

  3. I think what needs to happen is linkbait should be part of an overall long term strategy, it serves a specific purpose. It will not solve all your marketing problems, there is still room for the press release, adwords, blog marketing etc.

  4. Link bait is helpful but it isn’t the most effective way of building external links. Effectively your left at the mercy of social media sites and the whims of their viewers. its actually a very frustrating process.

  5. What does google say about linkbaiting…I guess it’s considered a white hat strategy? I’ve seen a lot of info about it recently but am not familiar with it. thanks

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