How to Create Great Content Ideas from the News Hook

Using the news hook to create a link attracting piece of content is a great way to marketing your website. It’s difficult to constantly come up with content ideas that work.

By looking at the news and creating content around what everyone is talking about helps your content get noticed, passed around on social media and also get links. Most people are hungry for more information regarding the current news, but most news agencies simply repeat the same information. If you could put a spin on the current news story and fold the theme of your niche within the content, you can creating high quality content.

On linkbait coaching we have a special section where we discuss the news, knock around ideas for content around the news, come up with headlines for specific niches etc. Basically we provide a constant stream of content ideas and headline ideas. It’s relatively easy to then take these building blocks and create your own content, saving a lot of cash by not having to hire that linkbait consultant.

Right now we have an offer, you can check out the service for £50 for 5 days, if you have sucked all the info you are able to, cancel the account and on your way. However for those wishing to continue to get a stream of edgy, hot topic content advice the fee is £200 a month. This of course comes with all the other coaching help that Linkbait Coaching provides.

Below is a list of a sample of the threads in the “News on Crack”, forum. For those with Linkbait Coaching membership you can click on the link and get access to the thread, for those who are not, sorry, you need to sign up.

 

Higgs discovery – Biggest Scientific moment since DNA
Fake cigarette caused M6 police Megabus coach swoop

Mad Mitts Jet Bike Fondue

In Volvo News

Go to Florida and Drown

Barclays Bonkers Bob

LIBOR – London Inter Bank

 

How to Get Creative

My job is mostly about being creative, coming up with web content ideas, creating headlines, writing copy etc. It’s usually quite easy for me to do this and I have always thought that this could be taught, which is what I do at Linkbait Coaching.

Because I feel that it’s simply about having the right mind set, being in the correct mode and not having to be some mad creative genius.

Today I came across a video that reinforced everything that I believe about being creative. The video is by John Cleese, and it is well worth watching. But if you are in a hurry I had jotted down some notes below.

<- Notes begin

"Creativity is not a talent, it is a way of operating", John Cleese

Creativity is not an ability that you either have or do not have, it is absolutely unrelated to IQ as long as you are above a minimum.

The most creative people simply have developed a facility to get into a certain mood or way of operating to allow there natural creative to function. In other words an ability to play and to play for it’s own sake.

The closed mode is a business at work mode, but it is not creative. The open mode is more playful there is no pressure, there is time to play.

Open mode is the curiosity

We need to be in the open mode to ponder a problem, but then switch to the closed mode to implement it decisively, undistracted by doubts about its effectiveness.

There are certain conditions that are conducive to the open mode

Space
Time
Time
Confidence
Humour

Space and time is needed for unlimited play

It’s easier to do trivial things that are urgent and it’s easier to do little things than things we are not sure of.

Most creative professionals are prepared to spend more time with a problem and so create more creative and original solutions.

Keep you mind gently around the problem

Notes end->

I strongly suggest you watch the video if in any way you are connected to creativity. I provide the open mind, the playful creative space. If you find creativity difficult when it comes to content creation and mostly want to get on with implementation then you can hire the creative aspect at Linkbait Coaching.

We are always playing and always have a free roaming mind generating threads and threads of creative goodness on the forums.

Sometimes it simply makes sense to hire a specialist than to try and muddle through.

General Baron Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord said

General Baron Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord said

“I divide officers into four classes — the clever, the lazy, the stupid and the industrious. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the high staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy is fit for the very highest commands. He has the temperament and the requisite nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be removed immediately.”

If you are lazy you look for the short cut, you break the rules and you work damn hard to get that short cut.

When found, you then relax.

Thus is the nature of those who use Search Engines to their advantage.

Mark McGuinness Reveals the Truth about Internet Marketing

Mark McGuinness has a new fan.

I read this post on Creativity in business and it rocked my socks.

It’s the price of doing business that you have to wade through thigh high rivers of steaming….. before you get something that resonates, something that connects. Something that makes you blog and inspires you to write and freely give a bit of link love, which is of course is the essence of what linkbaiting is about.

There are two quotes in the blog post that underpins the article for me.

the less your media content looks like advertising, the more effective it will be as advertising.

How cool and zen like is that and how counter intuitive the way most marketing and business people think. Now I am not naive, the blog post that Mark wrote is 100% marketing, I am sure intention was to have people talk about it, link to it, pass it around.

It’s internal and external link structure follows best practice of bigging up your mates and business collegues without breaking the narrative flow, and providing sweeter than sweet anchor text.

It is a joy to experience such a well put together blog post and the fact that I found it connected on an emotional level is testament to the quality of the writing.

The second quote is,

If you really want to succeed online, it will take a lot of time. Let’s face it, if you want to succeed at anything worthwhile, it’s going to take a lot of time.

I realised a long time ago, if I practiced the guitar and hour a day for a year I would be OK. Which I did, but if I practiced it for an hour a day over ten years I would be excellent.

99 out of 100 are good.

But only 1 out of 100 are excellent.

Excellence cost 9 years.

These figures are illustrative of one element of becoming successful. The problem you may have is not one of giving up and failing, but one of getting bored, distracted and trying to do a million other things a the same time.

Don’t believe me? How many windows does your browser have open right now? I have two browsers open and over 30 windows open. Unnnngggg.

What I take from Mark’s blog post is to revisit the ass-achingly simple truths that must be burnt into the brain with a hot branding iron at regular intervals of the journey.

All this of course raises more questions than it answers, but that is what good teaching does.

Cheers Mark, I’m going to check out your Workshop for creative people, looks very interesting.

Link Bait Ideas

How do you come up with a link bait idea? Ideas sometimes seem to come from nowhere, making the creative process seem like a magical, mystical thing.

Creativity does not exist in a vacuum and ideas do not come out of nothing. Good ideas are preceded by hard toil, time spent studying, thinking, testing, mulling over. Sometimes you may have been thinking about an idea for years.

One of the things I help people with at linkbaitcoaching.com is to come up with fresh, innovative, effective ideas for their linkbait. Sometimes the ideas spark fresh thoughts in the reader and they are able to go off in an even more original direction. It helps to have a spark.

Here are some examples of the kind of link bait ideas I come up with:

Who Spends the most on web advertising?

For a marketing site.
Analysis of the companies and brands who spend the most money on advertising on the web. Difficult to make it 100% accurate, but an interesting discussion starter. You could look at those who waste money on the web, or which website is the most useless to advertise on. When was the last time you clicked on a banner? But ask the question, are you the target?

Most Powerful Home Speaker System in the World

For a gadget site.
I am sure it has been done before so worth a research, remember, if it has worked once it has proved itself and the same elements will probably work again.
Figure out the way to decide what is the most powerful speaker, as HiFi geeks will probably take you to task on your claims. But, this is good, having people argue with you and not agree does not mean they will not link. Polarising opinion is sometimes the best way to get people to link. What you are doing in effect is creating a platform for the discussion to take place, people may not be linking to your content but the resulting discussion.

Announce Payday loans as an attack on the Working Class

For a financial site.
As the credit crunch takes hold (not sure what you call it in the USA) more and more people are seeking unconventional ways to raise cash. Payday loans give you cash against your future wages, problem is it has a crippling interest rate and tend to be targeted at vulnerable groups of society. Taking an ethical stand against such practices you can attract the attention of linkers that wouldn’t normally link to a financial site.
You can highlight some of the horror stories that people find themselves in and talk of large men with baseball bats turning up at the door at 6am.
The purpose is to offer a different look at a competitive market. Most sites do the, “Payday loans are great”, type story as they want to attract people who will click on the ads. But you want links, so go for the social ethical crowd and start a conversation that will be worth linking to.
If you can get pro and anti groups discussing on the same page you have hit payday gold.

Why ergonomic furniture is rubbish.

For a furniture or office furniture site or a saving money site
I end up reading a lot of adverts regarding ergonomic furniture, as if that’s the best kind of furniture. I am equipping a new office at the moment and notice the stuff. I think it’s a load of crap and I suspect others do too, give me a second hand �20 desk and a decent chair and I am sorted. Detail how expensive this ergonomic stuff is and what does it actually mean. As far as I can tell it means furniture with rounded corners.
Make this piece highly opinionated and point out how expensive some of this stuff is. I would totally advise an office furniture linkbait client to do this, but I know they never would because they do not understand linkbait. But, it can be used to shock people into linking to your site, “maverick furniture website reveals shocking truth of furniture scam”. What the site does then is explain why they think the range which they are carrying is worth every penny.

Why you should never pay more than �30 for a desk
Imagine that as a headline on an office furniture blog? If you have a website that is about furniture design, or about advising people how to save money setting up their businesses, your link worth radar will be beeping. It presents a negative view point which is very juicy to link to but the body of the content should take the reader from a negative start to a positive finish. Positive in the sense that the business running this furniture blog is so cool and on the side of the consumer it is willing to present information which seemingly harms it and benefits the consumer.

View it in the sense of a narrative, look how a Hollywood disaster movie is framed, the marketing is always about how awful and dire the situation is, but then ends upbeat as the little white, blonde girl and dog are saved.

Try looking at your linkbait creation as telling a story.

Best American Cities to get Shot in.

For a tourist site or medical
I lived in DC for six months and on the first night, 8 people were shot dead. Coming from a country where a stabbing can make national news I expected uproar, I don’t even think the local news covered it. Sometimes I think it takes an outsider to point out that things are kinda crazy.

That aside, the amount of people getting shot dead in America varies from city to city. But the interesting thing to point out is that being shot in a city where gunshot wounds are more common may mean you get treated by a more experienced surgeon for that type of wound. I had read somewhere that the US military sent their surgeons to such hospitals to get training in treating gunshot wounds.

So, the more gunshot wounds a hospital treats, the better your treatment can potentially be. It would be interesting to grab data on the top ten hospitals who treat the most gunshots per capita. This kind of research and presentation of statistical data, if backed up proper referencing of sources can bring you all sorts of attention from journalists and news organisations who may link to you.

Take readily available statistical data, reshape and reframe it, give it an attention grabbing headline and you may have a nice bit of linkbait on your hands.

The headlines in the above examples are not what you would end up with. It’s possible you can come up with better by spending more time thinking about it. I came up with the headlines whilst writing this post, so they have not been through the grist mill yet.

Maybe these ideas spark different ideas that you can use. Ideas are all around, you just have to be able to spot them. Once you have adopted the linkbaiters frame of mind it becomes natural.

You can find more ideas for linkbait over at linkbaitcoaching.com

Creativity

Have you ever had a blog post idea knocking around your head for weeks and you just can’t get the chance or motivation to write about it?

I have mentioned creativity in seo before, unfortunately it’s something I rarely see talked about as an important part of seo.

Consider this:

“The birth of an idea may be preceded and followed by modes of attention that are much more focused, purposeful and intellectual”

from pp14 The Creative Thinking Plan by Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas

“Modes of attention”, interesting that it’s in the plural, as if we have to spend a lot of time thinking about a thing when we are in different mental states. Attacking the issue from different parts of our mind.

I no longer call myself an SEO and have not done for a long time, (if I ever was one) and I now the pursue the path of viral content creator, or online buzz marketer or what is commonly known in the business as linkbaiting. This requires a truck full of creativity each day, but creativity takes time.

It takes time to be creative, it’s probably the most important think I teach my linkbaiting students over at linkbaitcoaching.com, a good piece of linkbait will take up to ten days. Most of that is spent thinking and throwing away ideas. The ability to spot a bad idea is as important as coming up with the idea in the first place.

You need that time because the mind has to go through it’s different modes to come up with that idea. Now I know people who have taken 15 minutes to create a piece of linkbait and it’s a great success. But, you will probably find that the idea has been at the back of their minds fermenting and going through the editing process whilst snug in the sub-consciousness.

The true test is to be presented with a subject you are unfamiliar with and you have to start cold. It can involve a lot of walking, thinking and looking into the distance. It involves getting your brain to perform different modes of attention whilst thinking of the problem.

The same is with SEO, getting creative with SEO and not simply copying what others are doing can give you the edge. Most techniques when they hit the public are over. It’s those people who can see things in different ways and challenge the perceived wisdom. Usually the perceived wisdom is wrong as it follows what worked yesterday. To be a creative SEO you need to be thinking about what can work tomorrow.

I’m a natural contrarian, I believe will live in cycles and if someone says “don’t do that, it no longer works”, time to look at it closely. What I find also is that some things that are talked about in the SEO blogosphere are complete crap. A lot of the time you read something and you know it works because you are doing it and yet it goes hot on Sphinn, people are commenting and saying “good point”. Best thing is just to keep quiet and let them get on with it.

But when you start doing the opposite of what the masses do, strange things happen. You stumble across things which work and which no one else is doing. When that happens, you have struck SEO gold and you keep quiet about it (unless it can bump you up a couple of pay grades but that’s another matter), you then notice people saying it used to work a few years ago but not anymore.

To achieve real success in this business, you have to get creative. Which was what I was doing with my spoof news linkbait stories. It was a technique that has been used successfully by a number of people for years, no wonder they wanted to keep it quiet.

In the end, getting creative might lead you off the garden path and into the sharp toothed man traps Matt Cutts has laid for you, or you may get lynched by the foaming at the mouth blogosphere. No matter, you are in this business for results not some hippy-geek-ethos. You find what works and then you do what works.

Note:
I completely went off my target for this post, I wanted to talk and discuss creativity more. Ah well, stream of consciousness it will have to be