This is a very long article about understanding link bait for viral marketing campaign. If you don’t like to read long articles then close the browser and miss the secrets on how get massive visitors and links to your website and be a loser. Just kidding but please read on….

LinkbaitThe use of link bait in viral marketing has been considered as one of the most effective online marketing strategy to date. In fact, some businesses had been created to make link bait for business organizations or simply individuals who would like to get a bigger share of audience.

The web is technically populated with viral contents and popular sites that aim to reach for the greatest traffic and attention of internet surfers who could possibly be interested to buy, laugh, download, etc. with the link. But for business organizations who profits on having bigger audience and awareness of what they have to offer, leverage in link baiting means bigger income. Link baits promotes the product globally and information is disseminated non-stop.

Presently, with the growing popularity of the social networking, link baits are easier and become more and more effective.  If a link bait becomes popular its stays longer until the time it drops its popularity and eventually a new link bait will be introduced.

What exactly is Link Bait?

It is described as a feature or any content within a website that is designed primarily to catch attention and encourage viewers of the site to link it with other websites. Others define Link Bait as anything interesting that catches people’s attention. Link bait is viral in nature and is said to be a strong marketing tool.  Link bait can come in the form of image, an audio or a video clip that people finds interesting to share.

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Common types of Link baits:

  1. Informational Hooks – this link bait uses useful information that readers find benefits.
  1. News hooks– state fresh information regarding a recent event as it gradually become public.
  1. Humor Hooks – states a funny story, an anecdote or a comical subject.
  1. Evil Hooks – stating something unpopular about a person or product that catches people’s attention.
  1. Tool Hooks – tells something of useful tools that people may find interesting.
  1. Widget Looks – this can be a badge that internet surfer may find interesting and usable on their own website.
  1. Unique Content Hooks – this is made for people who are in need of unique content and articles for their site yet cannot reproduce or modify what they can find in Google due to the Duplicate Content Filter. Link baiters can send this to other sites that requires it but with the condition that it is linked back to the source site.
  1. Curated Hooks – this is a link bait where a website cites the original source of the link. People who might come across this site will be curious on the website origin, thus it becomes viral.

Essential Elements of Link Baits

  1. Attention Grabbing Headline – a catchy and strong line that captures attention and thus has a better chance to be linked.
  1. Interesting Information – an exceptional content product that provides highly interesting information about an already highly interesting subject.
  1. Appealing Visuals – concentrates on how the website has been designed and how well it attracts people and influenced each viewer to link the site.
  1. Unexpected Hook – this is an element that unintentionally influences somebody to link the site because of its content, the design, or an approach that’s striking to the viewer.
  1. Contact List – the web owner should have people in mind that will be interested in his website, this could be triggered by common interest on the subject matter or simply people that he know personally.

remarkable Linkbaits

Having these vital elements and types on how Link bait becomes effective, let us focus on the people who usually share the links on their websites and makes them like the baits.

Nature of Linkers (Linkeratis)

–          Viewers who found the link extremely interesting and feels the urge to voluntarily link it.

–          A personal bond between the website owner and the people who links it. The linkers can be a friend, a family member, or a professional buddy who would like to show support.

–          The site had been cited as the source of the material

–          The linker can benefit from the site through having a site badge etc.

Viral Marketing Quickview

Viral Marketing StrategiesWhile Link bait is mainly concentrated on luring others to link to your website or page, viral marketing on the other hand refers to the whole conundrum of various marketing strategies that uses anything in the World Wide Web to promote brand awareness in an objective to produce a sale, traffic, a linkback or any kind of conversion. The main objective of viral marketing is to create a material, catchy enough that people would want to reproduce or talk about it.

For this marketing strategy to become effective, you should understand the functions of viral marketing.  That includes the following:


  1. Identify the Carrier -Messenger – the message should be transmitted to the right person. It should be someone with high social network connections who is readily available to transmit the message into his/her page through reproduction. Wherein the people that he/she know will also transmit the same message to their circle of connection.
  2. Identify the Virus -Message – For a message to be viral, it needs to have a tag line that people won’t easily forget. It should have something that can be recalled easily. The message with viral tag line easily gets into the daily life.
  3. Identify the Environment – the timing when the viral marketing will be launched is of prime considerations since the environment decides if a viral message shall be welcome in a particular group and it does not offend belief of the people.

Now, this link bait or viral marketing do not spread as they were a player that spreads what’s on a link and reproduce what’s on a viral link. In the internet, they we’re commonly referred as the Linkerati.

The Web Savvy Linkerati

In its generic description, Linkerati is not a term exclusively used to call those people who are into linking a site or any material found in the internet, these are the people who are extremely active with social networking sites who even participate on online voting, and surveys. These are also the person who owns sites that are respected, believed, and followed by others. They can be a site of a professional who excels in his career like an author, a psychologist, a sports analyst, a government organization, the President of the United States, or even a popular blogger.

Now having these kinds of people to link your bait would be a hard sell. They have reputations to protect and a belief they firmly hold. Yet, to have them link your bait gives a person a certain edge over the other for the ‘endorsement’ and validates the consistency of his material.

Linkbait Linkeratis

There are a few categories where Linkerati falls, although they can be categorized in more than one.

  1. Social Media Participants – practically, these linkerati are people who are extremely active in the social issues. They frequently checks their website and pages and votes for any issue raised in the websites, they are also active in submitting comments and contents. Thus, this kind of linkerati determines who become popular and who don’t.  These people are also active in linking sites that they agreed upon.
  2. Bloggers – Although there are a million bloggers worldwide who maintains interesting stories about anything and everything in life, yet most bloggers do not have a PageRank, neither a link that points on them on exclusive subjects. Yet, there are certain blogger whose opinions are respected. These include, Pete Cashmore of Mashable and Michael Arrington from TechCrunch. Now, if you can have these people write about a product would mean massive exposure since they have already gained prominence in the field of blogging.
  3. Journalists – journalists are entirely different from being a blogger. A journalist is a professional writer who earns from their stories, makes a reputation out of it, and with an employer who dictates what story to write. However, as technology advances, magazines and newspaper had been interactive as well, their websites already welcomes comments and suggestion from their readers. Now, if you happen to be linked by a newspaper website, this also means an exposure to your product.
  4. Researchers/Web Writers – Web Writers and Researchers are one of the people who will most likely to link. The materials they use that come from another site can be cited in their own page. Thus, a positive review on a product can either create a positive or a negative impact to the linked website.
  5. Forum Posters – this may seem less visible than blogs, but the internet is packed with Forums that ranges from social issues, product reviews and simply any topic under the sun. People on this site would argue, contribute ideas, and link websites as proof of their arguments. Being linked can have a positive or negative effect in a product or a business organization. People will scrutinize the product, commend or rejects at worst.
  6. Offline Connectors – this involve people who are not active in the online community yet creates impact and influence the decision of a group of people who watches and follows them. Examples includes, talk show hosts Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel etc. who talks about certain products or groups of people that can lead to formation of impression.

What are the Objectives of Link bait

The prime objective of link bait is to attract as many backlinks to your site as possible. However, linking should be done on sites where it will provide mutual benefits to both. As much as possible, link baits should appear on your home pages. What happens most of the time is that link baits are found as a citation on blog entry or specially designed pages. It should be known that link baits adds link and strength to domain pages.

What a Link bait Can Do For You

linkbait objectives

  1. Recognition of wider viewers – every link bait is created to have a massive exposure for people who can be potential customers. In Facebook for example, a number of link bait can be seen on the side of the page. From time to time, a product is introduced, gets an exposure, and while the viewer is not interested at the moment, the product will be retained on his mind and will be a top priority when the time he needs the same product for personal use. Ultimately, marketing online is not to generate outright sales. It aims to have wider recognition to develop top preference on viewers. Yet, it should be presented in a catchy and enjoyable way. Otherwise, it will never create immediate recall on the viewer’s mind. An Auto Desk for example is software that advertises a link on Facebook. Since it is a new software, it is creating familiarization with its exposure on Facebook, for curious people, they will be tempted to try it, since it seems to appear for sometimes now in the social networking site.
  1. Create a Brand and Improve Reputation –as it is a marketing tool that aims to promote awareness of the brand within the viewers, Link baits also aims to create a reputation of being the better choice over similar products in the market.  Through link baits, it is creating an impression that the more people that linked the site, the more people trust the product. One example is ResMed. They had been a constant advertiser on Facebook, it has created its page and at the same time advertising on the site. By making it constantly visible to users, it is creating an image to be a reliable medical treatment for sleeping problems.
  1. Enhance Credibility and Build Trust– in creating link bait, the creator needs to bear in mind that having a catchy materials does not guarantee enhancement in credibility. If it is a product that you will be marketing, it should be designed with testimonials in support of the benefits it claimed to have.
  1. Attracts Evangelists and Advocates – people who will be linking your product on the sites are the people who have tested how effective your product. They are your satisfied customers who also encourage other people to try your product. There is no other way on developing an evangelist but to provide a highly satisfactory product, the success of link bait simply comes second.
  1. Link baits can Create Public Relations – When you produce a video of your product, presenting all the positive details in an interesting way, one approach into catching an attention is to have your audience participate. You may encourage your viewers to add a comment or a suggestion regarding your product and in return, address all this concern. Also, encourage interactive conversation by providing details about your product and how, that particular need of a user will be answered by your product component.
  1. Link Attraction – Link bait is not designed according to the desire of the site owner. It should be designed in accordance with the preference of people who will possibly share it. Consider the layout, the humorous content, and the message that you want to reproduce.
  1. Provide more Clicks and Views – it should be kept in mind that link baits are created not only to attract customers but also to increase and improve product recognition, Page Rankings, and of course to gain future customers. With this, it is important that the link bait has a lot of information to show when clicked and viewed. It should be able to sum up all the things that need to be marketed.

Link bait Approach Examples

You may have the best idea and the technical capability in creating your link bait, with your objective of making your link extremely popular to web surfers, the materials you will be using is of prime consideration. The approach can be any or a combination of the following depending on the interest of your viewer:

  1. Top 10 Lists
  2. Opinions and Reports
  3. “Best” of Guides
  4. “How to” Guides
  5. Comprehensive Articles
  6. Industry/subject matter forum
  7. Social Networking Groups – approach to a group of people with common interest.
  8. Social Sites for Specific Industry – if a product caters to a group of profession
  9. Humorous
  10. Surveys
  11. Quizzes
  12. Chart and Graphs
  13. Calculators
  14. Presentations – can be derived from sites like Slide Share.
  15. Videos – the most popular approach that can either be a Skit, Interviews, Instructional, and Testimonials.

How To Brainstorm  For Your Link bait

Measuring and Monitoring Link bait Success

To ensure that you have launched an effective online marketing strategy, the advertiser also needs to measure the success of the strategy. This is a done by tracking visitors on the website. Simply incorporate a traditional server logs to monitor the number of visitors in the website after launching the link bait. The following metrics can also help in the overall monitoring of Link bait success:

  1. Number of sign-ups
  2. Recurring visits
  3. Feed subscription
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Page Views on visit
  6. Conversion rate

Also frequently perform a Link Analysis since bad links may occur when the bait has been linked to irrelevant pages that does not in any way provides positive return to the company. The bait could have been linked in thousand times with blogs and other unrelated sites, thus it is bad link. When it happens, evaluates the keywords, the content and the presentation that could have triggered the incident. You may opt to revision and creation of a better link bait to get the result that you wanted.

It is also advised that a Google alert is set up especially when it comes to monitoring the link bait reputation. It is possible though that the content had been understood in a way against your intention. A Google alert will help you monitor any forums or discussion that mentions your link bait. It can be a very painful process of monitoring yet it will help the business organization a lot to correct any misconception of the product in general. Should you find loopholes on the content, edit, create and re-launch the link bait. Yet, after the re-launch, the process of monitoring the result continues.

Marketing for products has advanced together with the technology. Now, marketing a single product can reach millions of people around the globe. The idea of link baiting provides an avenue for business organizations to introduce their product at a bigger market. However, the technicalities should be considered since it also has limitations and risks.

The competition into launching the most effective and well known products is very stiff in the online community. Constant developing of effective link bait through effective materials and contents are required.  Link bait creation needs to get better and better everyday as the cyberspace get’s noisier  and more crowded.

Here’s how to have a successful linkbait:

Linkbait process
Created By Voltier Creative Voltier Creative


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+Mark Acsay III is an Inbound Marketing Strategist based from the Philippines and the author Webby Thoughts blog. He loves agile content marketing fueled with creativity and efficiency. You may connect with his twitter at @markacsay