When trying to describe link bait to someone outside the industry, it’s a bit hard to get the idea across. The problem is that link bait can be funny, sad, shocking, amazing and a bunch of other adjectives. Really, it’s not necessarily about what you create, it’s about the WOW factor.
The WOW factor is measured by your readers and how good they feel the story is. There is no way to know exactly how the public will react, even though sometimes you can estimate pretty well.
Think of it like the news. Millions of news events happen all the time, but how many do you actually see on TV? The big ones of course show up. With link bait, this is like taking someone that’s tops in your industry and having them do anything. More than likely, they’ll get lots of links out of it no matter how great it was. They have the following and so the WOW factor was imminent.
Then there are local stories that effect the people. I live in Minneapolis, so lots of news is about this area. If you are in a certain industry a good story can penetrate across your industry quite well. However, it still depends on how your readers can relate to the story. Do they feel it has value to them or their readers? Its it really worth sharing?
But what about all the other stories? Those short little ‘feel good’ clips of firefighters saving cats, world hot dog eating championships and those stories that may be from half way around the world, but they still make it onto the local news. These are great examples of link bait.
What happens is that they did something so fun, inspiring, scary, weird or just plain interesting that they had to be shared. It’s these types of stories that convert into good link bait. More than likely when people go to work the next day, they’ll talk more about the interesting little stores and less about the bulk of the news. The same idea works on the internet and it’s called link bait.
Link bait is just a term used for great content that draws visitors and links to a website. It could be for a funny video, great tutorial, shocking commentary or a million other things. It’s very hard to pin point what the next great thing will be, but it could come from anyone and be about anything.
Link bait is really not that hard to create either. Most of the time it’s using the talents and sills you already have and putting them out there for others to find. The hard part is knowing how the public will react. You can spend 20 hours on a great video tutorial that no one reads while another guy can put up pictures of cats on a website with captions that aren’t even spelt correctly and they can get tons of traffic. Go figure.
In the end it’s the same as it has always been. Create good, compelling content that readers can find valuable in some way. That could be in a good laugh, some great information or something else that makes them go “WOW I have to show this to my friends.” The door is wide open on this one, it’s up to you to create something that will strike a cord with those on the internet. Good Luck!