Why Linkbait and Content Marketing are Basically the same thing

A recent post on Mashable on entitled, “Stop Linkbait Before it Ruins Content Marketing” by Sam Slaughter.

linbait-v-contentmarketing

OMG, you mean Content Marketing can be ruined?

I have two positive things to say about this. First, what a cool name, “Sam Slaughter”. A quick whiz around the intertubes reveals quite a few Sam Slaughters though. The part of me that looks out of the window to stare into the distance yearns for one of them to be working in an abattoir whilst secretly writing crime fiction.

Second positive thing, it’s a great headline. Ironically baiting those who wave both the Linkbaiting flag and the Content Marketing flag. People usually get excited about such stuff when it is relative to the amount of food they can throw on the table after a day hunting on the Internet hinterland.

I love how it suggests that Linkbait should or even can be stopped, as if it’s a rampaging, well hung bull smashing through the delicate china of the content marketing shop.

And ruining “content marketing”, that’s very interesting. No, I am not being sarcastic, I really mean it. Because it is setting up a very interesting narrative in the brain. What the headline is actually doing is pandering to opposing prejudices and then exciting them in different ways. Very clever stuff.

If you are a content marketing flag waver you will feel indignant that the backstreet ruffian, Linkbait is going to ruin the Golden Goose that is content marketing. If you are a Linkbaiter you will feel indignant that any will stop Linkbait working and that the deity of media communications will throw the switch and make Linkbait work no more.

But are you thinking what I am thinking?

This article is a piece of very good linkbait, the kind of which Mashable has been built on.

Sam poses the question.

How do we create standards that ensure the quality of content stays high?

It’s quite simple Mr. Slaughter, we don’t.

There is already a mechanism for the ensuring the quality of content stays high and that is if the techniques work or not. I am in the business of training people to create content which is attractive, engaging and gets a reaction. If it does not fulfill this basic criteria then it fails.

We can label a piece of media communications linkbait, content marketing, spin or whatever, but what we call these labels are mostly for selling books, membership sites, and for the writing of Mashable headlines. Even Sam points out that such labels are vague:

The problem is that “content,” in this context, is so ill-defined and poorly understood that unscrupulous content creators flood the web with low-quality schlock meant to appeal to base online instincts. Or, as I heard someone ask recently:

The problem is that “content,” in this context, is so ill-defined and poorly understood that unscrupulous content creators flood the web with low-quality schlock meant to appeal to base online instincts. Or, as I heard someone ask recently, “Does content marketing have a side-boob problem?”

Lets ignore the fact I have no idea what a “side-boob problem” is and confirms that I do not run with the uber hip neoglogistic crowd. No professional Linkbaiter of Content marketer is interested in  ” low-quality schlock”, because it simply does not work long term and it’s the long term where the big payoff lays

These articles are useful as they force us to question what the labels actually mean and discover what is working when it comes to persuasion communication.

Persuasion Communication, is the fundamental term we should be using, but it doesn’t scan and it isn’t fluffy. The term sits under the aim of nearly all media that we see every say.  We write and create media to persuade the reader on a number of levels.

I must say though, the mashable article did raise the ire of some of the linkbaiters on Linkbait Coaching. Which created a great learning opportunity.

It’s all about the Comments

I find the comments of blog posts a very interesting place to understand the mind set of people in the space.  The comments on this post reveal a savvy audience.

Mxx points out:

Linkbaiting..you mean like today Mashable’s:

15 Young Adult Books Every Adult Should Read
14 Tips to Nail Down Demographics
11 Words We Learned on the Wienermobile
10 TMI Parent Moments on Facebook
11 Musical Vine Videos That’ll Get Stuck in Your Head
10 Mom Blogs Full of Inspiring Advice

and Andre Dubreuil says:

I find it highly ironic to read an article decrying link baiting on Mashable and I’m sure I’m not the only one. There’s hardly any room for real articles on this site among all the insignificant top x lists and Google+ is a ghost town kind of rehashed nonsense that is found in here at the best of time

Which gives me hope that the crowd gets the concepts behind this post and understands the fundamentals at work here.

Although I must confess I am regarded more as a linkbaiter, than a content marketer, I find the terms interchangeable and which one I use depends more upon the person I am speaking to and their mind set.

Is it me or have the articles on Mashable got better recently, or perhaps I only notice the stuff I want to notice. It’s still a great place to go and learn a few things and whilst engaging writers like Sam Slaughter are hanging out there I will be reading.

 

Nissan Datsun Newsjacking alert

Example 1 of a Newsjacking alert from the forthcoming Newsjacking Alert service

The niche is the automotive industry, but could be used for any niche if you have the right angle. We find content works best when it’s a similar niche, but if now relevant news is around you can still get a great bit of content created that is triggered by something that is outside your niche.

This piece of news from the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23313271

It was one of the marques that helped Japanese carmakers establish themselves in Europe and the US.In the 1970s, the fuel efficient Datsun became the car of choice for the everyday motorist fed up with unreliable gas-guzzlers.

Now, more than 30 years after Nissan decided to kill off the brand, the Datsun has been reborn.

On Monday, a new model was unveiled in India aimed at first-timers keen to get on the car-owning ladder.

The new 1.2-litre five-seat hatchback will go on sale in India next year for under 400,000 rupees ($6,670; £4,500). It will also be sold in Indonesia and Russia.

The Nissan Datsun used to be the favourite of minicab driver back in the day.

You can see the attached screenshot for Google trends and the increased interest.

datsun

Cotnent deas:

  • 10 Reasons the Nissan Datsun was the best car to steal
  • 10 Why you could never get a girl whilst driving a Datsun
  • 10 Ways the New Nissan Datsun will make a great limo.

Note: The idea is to get the keywords into the title so that the freshly indexed content will soak up some of the increased searches. You want to give an added element to the story to allow further media content to pick up your story and refer to you.

Further ideas:
Try to find the oldest man ever to own a Datsun
People who have been born in a Datsun
Celebrity owners

Further links:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2…d-india-russia
http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/News/Se…-new-city-car/
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0…hatchback.html
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/07/15/d…india-w-video/
http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intel…of-the-datsun/

The Secret to Ranking a Website in Google

This is a great time for people building great content on the web.

After reading the interview with Google engineer Matt Cutts and expert SEO Eric Enge, it confirms to me the content that people want will be the ultimate factor in whether or not a website will rank.

Yes of course there will still be those anomalies which a clever SEO can exploit, but it would be  foolish to base a business on hunting down the latest thing that Google has not yet fixed.

There is nothing really new in the interview, although it is a great interview and ties together a bunch of methodologies that have been working for sometime.

  1. We all know that we should have an effective social media following on places like Twitter.
  2. We all know that we need to be producing content that is better than any other content which is currently available to the reader.
  3. We all know we should create synergy between all content and online communication output.

So nothing new there.

But how many of us really implement this? When I want something to happen I write a blog post, do a bit of Tweeting, a bit of emailing, a bit of commenting etc., until I get the result.

I already have my processes set in place, I am already a member of various online social tribes – I have my own gang of trusted creative rebels on which I can call upon. I already know my market and what is needed and more importantly how to get people to be attracted, engaged and then what will get them to react.

Which of course I should know having been doing this for quite some time now and having the good fortune to work with some brilliant, clients in a variety of sectors. Getting the client to do what is needed is the hardest part of the equation as results are not obvious before the process begins.

Even though I can show that doing something very specific like producing an infographic on going to Mars can get high quality editorial links from the likes of Wired.com, Mashable.com etc. It still takes large amounts of energy to create presentations that leads the client along the path.

But the client thing is a tangent and not crucial to the core thing being discussed.

What is important

I think it helps if we think along the lines of publishing something popular, than creating quality content. Quality is a relative term and means different things to different people, whereas we can easily define popularity.

Popular content, not quality content.

This is my experience over the 15 years I have been creating web pages to get links out of people. It’s that you need to be creating content that people really, really want to consume.

Thing is, most of those in my industry are more interested in paying a writer £15 to produce an article than £1,500.

Which is absolutely fantastic, because you are competing with people who only have enough juice to get up half of the hill. If you “get it”, you can dominate. That is the secret.

What’s also interesting is that the regular business person finds it hard to get to grasps with the aspects of content marketing, yes I know there are success stories out there, but relative to their whole sector they are tiny. The second secret is that this will always be the case.

There will always be opportunity for those who can create popular content

People in my industry, and I am one of them, are always babbling on about the latest technological advancement in blogging or social media. It becomes this huge wall of noise, and mostly it’s relatively unimportant as it’s not the technology that attracts. It’s the content

It’s the content

It’s one thing of course to define and understand this, another thing completely to implement it in a fashion that delivers an effective ROI. Which is where I tap my 15 years experience in the industry, I have seen and studied huge numbers of real time campaigns that have both succeeded and failed in this time.

A very, very small percentage of websites out there currently implement best practice content marketing, seo, blogging, social media etc. You may not think so because you spend all your time only consuming the good stuff and so think that is all what exists.

Local is getting very tasty

When you talk to the people who are experts in local online marketing, it gets very interesting. As it doesn’t seem to take that much investment for a local business to get a good ROI out of local online marketing. Obviously this is because of the geographical parameters being fixed, and that is not going to change.

Local requires a change in the mind set, but at its basic it is a similar methodology to the huge corporate beast.

Getting it Tabloid

To the people who I personally coach in this area, I tell them to think like the Economist and create like the Sun, newspaper. To be a dealer and not an addict. To think about the reader as being hungry for a specific type of content and simply creating that content and promoting it.

It’s simplistic, but the complexity is in the cultural awareness and defining the thing that people want at that specific time. It’s impossible for the business person running a plumbing supplies website for example. They do not have time to sit on Reddit, Twitter or consume the latest from Huffpo or find that smaller story that fits their niche perfectly.

You need an experienced, culturally aware individual who understands what gets people to link and create social signals and how that folds in to the websites brand development.

Even I can only count about 30 – 40 people who can do this to the required level.  Most of them are highly creative, maverick social rebels types. Most freelance and wouldn’t be caught dead working the 9-5 in house or for an agency. Not that in-house, or agency people can’t do this, but it’s not for people who crave security or who can only operate if they have a defined working structure.

The creativity needs to flow in an environment that is unstable from a business POV or at least looks wonky when you look at it through a business lens.

If you find one of these creative geniuses who can connect all the different parts and implement, delivering and effective ROI, make sure you give them what they want to work on your stuff. Do not let them go over to the opposition, because it’s really hard to find these types of people as they are rare.

If they are aware of their value then you will need to pay premium rates, but if your business model is set up to soak up extra business then it’s worth it. I cannot tell you how many client servers I have crashed because of all the traffic I send clients.

If you want personal coaching help with this stuff I am available for hire. Plus I have a lower cost option for coaching over at Linkbait Coaching I am also launching a Content marketing magazine for the iPad and a Newsjacking email alert service, sign up to the email list for more news on this.

You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+

 

 

 

 

 

Why Kittens Should be part of your Content Marketing

Most read story right now on the BBC Kitten Found on Tube Train

Now before you put your angry young man hat on for people not caring more about Syria, NHS, Global warming etc. just remember that life is pretty crap most of the time. Yes it does have it’s highlights like superfast broadband, but mostly it’s grim and tiresome.

So people need a distraction from the hideousness, they need to laugh or have their emotion changed from rage to empathy.

Yes some linkbait tactics focus anger and use it to get the link, but being nice and fluffy can also get links.

Don’t diss the kitten.

Remember you are a dealer, not an addict.

 

This post was previously publishing on LinkbaitCoaching.com

50 Design Inspirations for 8 types of Infographic

Have an idea for an infographic but don’t know where to begin with designing it?

Fear not!

With thanks to Lyndon, we’ve compiled an ultimate design resource for every imaginable type of infographic. Well, nearly every one.

Our blog post earlier this year, identified the 8 different types of infographics.

This is a list of 50 that we think deserve to be noted for their design, or certain aspects of them.

A visual list of infographic inspiration awaits…

 

The Visual Article

The Visual Article infographic is all about attracting the viewer immediately with the title and offering something more than just a written article. The content itself must be varied, interesting and plentiful so that readers do not come away disappointed.

 

1. Amsterdam: On Yer Bike – by easyJet Holidays

amsterdam-on-yer-bike_50290d6bac472

Source

2. A question of taste – by South China Morning Post

Print

Source

3. 50 Unbelievable Facts about Earth – by Giraffe

fifty-unbelievable-facts-about-earth_51814d5859029

Source

4. 50 Incredible Facts about Skin – by beautyflash

50-incredible-facts-about-skin_50b3dc8c136a0

Source

5. Why Bill Gates is Better than Batman – by Frugal Dad

why-bill-gates-is-better-than-batman_502910c3bacfc

Source

6. 50 Insane Facts about Hair – by Hair Loss Geeks

50-insane-facts-about-hair-infographic_514869d497fac

Source

7. How to Control Your Dreams – by BedroomWorld

how-to-control-your-dreams-infographic_51025574ea3aa

Source

 

The Flow Chart

Flow charts are successful for answering questions and when engaging the right audience do well on social media. The design of a flowchart prefers simple over cluttered and to make it worthwhile, there needs to be plenty of options so the viewer doesn’t feel forced into an overly narrow category. Tongue-in-cheek is common and a sense of humour is definitely a bonus!

 

8. Should  I Text Him? – by Becca Classon

ShouldITextHimFlowchart_50a68cf36d200

Source

9. Which Infographic Should You Use? – by NeoMam Studios

which-infographic-should-you-use-flowchart_515ca1569bcc2

Source

10. Star Wars Occupation Flowchart – by OnlineSchools

StarWarsOccupationFlowChart_50945c660436f

Source

11. I Want to Make a Horror Movie – by Canal+

i-want-to-make-a-horror-movie_50290cfa9bc19

Source

12. Are You Happy? – by Rick Webb

are-you-happy_50290a8e1ca74

Source

13. Should Your Business be on Pinterest? – by Intuit

should-your-business-be-on-pinterest_50291618441a5

Source

 

Useful Bait

The useful bait does what it says and provides a useful resource to the viewer. Usability should be the priority with a straightforward design and content which is strictly relevant to the topic. When designing infographics like these it’s best to imagine them being printed out.

 

14. Gangnam Style The 5 Basic Steps – by Hugo A Sanchez

news illustrated 121201 GStyle outline

Source

15. Kitchen Cheat Sheet – by Everest

kitchen-cheat-sheet_503df97de2efa

Source

16. Sitting is Killing You – by Medical Billing & Coding

sitting-is-killing-you_50290c26c7c9e

Source

17. How to Train Yourself to Speed Read – by Mindflash

how-to-train-yourself-to-speed-read_50290b418f018

Source

18. Exceptional Expressions of Espresso – by Pop Chart Lab

Print

Source

19. Pairing Wine & Food – by Wine Folly

wine and food pairing chart

Source

20. The Shelf Life of Food – by Visual.ly

TheShelfLifeofFood_512f96cbed064

Source

21. The Charted Cheese Wheel – by Pop Chart Lab

Print

Source

 

Number Porn

Impressive numbers coupled with an engaging design make the ‘Number Porn’ infographic work. Numerical infographics boil down to a lot of numbers with little visualisation to aid comprehension. They are straightforward to produce but may lack a bit of imagination.

 

22. Titanic by the Numbers – by History.com

titanic-by-the-numbers_5029174716f96

Source

23. Education by the Numbers – by Microsoft Education

education-by-the-numbers_50290a5a38fa9

Source

24. A Day in the Internet – by MBA Online

a-day-in-the-internet_5124e8c74a0ca

Source

25. Google: Behind the Numbers – by Business MBA

google-behind-the-numbers_50290ee60562a

Source

 

The Timeline

The timeline shows a journey to the viewer and it must be important to them to be successful. Each element of a timeline infographic should be visualised, so it’s easy to see the progression and is visually stimulating.

 

26. The Road of the Future – by Carloan4u

the-road-to-the-future_50d1e722b937d

Source

27. The Evolution of the Geek – by Flowtown

the-evolution-of-the-geek_50290a8c1df2b

Source

28. The Evolution of Video Game Controllers – by Pop Chart Labs

the-evolution-of-video-game-controllers_50290d16c72bc

Source

29. A History of Western Typefaces – by Mashable

a-history-of-western-typefaces_5029116b9aa7b

Source

30. The History of Home Heating – by Global Home Improvements

the-history-of-home-heating-infographic_510d0a5931659

Source

31. The Apple Tree – by Mashable

the-apple-tree_50290b9835889

Source

 

Data Visualisation

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a data visualization is worth a thousand more.”

Data Visualisation is the bread and butter of the infographic world. A creative approach along with careful design can get great results and lead to placement on high-profile sites.

 

32. The Billion Dollar-o-Gram – by David McCandless

the-billion-dollarogram_50290b64c418f

Source

33. Mission(s) to Mars – by Bryan Christie Design

missions-to-mars_50290aa620def

Source

34. Fifty Years of Exploration – by National Geographic

fifty-years-of-exploration_50290a6d94ffe

Source

35. Snake Oil? by David McCandless

snake-oil_502913ef22085

Source

36. The Big Numbers – by Rune Leth Anderson

the-big-numbers_50290bf5384b7

Source

 

The Versus Infographic

Matching content to audience is crucial here. You need to consider what the audience care about and focus on two characters or concepts. A common feature of these infographics compares both differences and similarities. A little humour and stylised design are a must if they are to succeed.

 

37. Geek vs Hipster – by Geeks Are Sexy

geek-vs-hipster_502914fecde3b

Source

38. Messi vs Ronaldo – by Visual.ly

Print

Source

39. A Tale of Two Meals – by Massive Health

a-tale-of-two-meals_502917a2d0374

Source

40. Beef versus Horse – Guardian Digital Agency

beef-versus-horse_513f18a36809b

Source

41. How Being a Liberal or Conservative Shapes Your Life – by David McCandless

how-being-a-liberal-or-conservative-shapes-your-life_5029165609e1b

Source

42. Serif vs Sans – The Final Battle – by Urban Fonts

serif-vs-sans-the-final-battle_512d49eaa7160

Source

43. Woof vs Meow – What Our Furry Pets Reveal About Us – by Hunch

woof-vs-meow-what-our-furry-pets-reveal-about-us_50290f9e9f94f

Source

 

The Photo Infographic

Arguably the hardest to produce, these infographics need quality photographs and a well thought out design to come off as professional looking. When done right though, these infographics are visually arresting and provide a unique way to display information.

 

44. Dining Etiquette 101 – by Sun Sentinel

dining-etiquette-101_5029141b424ee

Source

45. The Simpsons, South Park and Ninja Turtles LEGOs – by Jung Von Matt

the-simpsons-south-park-and-ninja-turtles-legos_502915852b605

Source

46. Know Your Poop – by Raj Kamal

know-your-poop_5125c841e8b5b

Source

47. The Evolution of a Hipster – by Paste  Magazine

the-evolution-of-a-hipster_50290b4e749ad

Source

48. Fat or Fiction – by Fat or Fiction

fatorfiction

Source

49. Seven Summits – by FFunction

7-summits_50290b9297b13

Source

50. Refugees and Immigrants – by Peter Orntoft

PeterOrntoftInformationgraphicsInContext2010_51a86d7888fb1

Source

 

We hope these proved useful and let us know if you agree with our choices!

Compiled by Danny Ashton, founder of the infographic agency NeoMam Studios.