Click Bait: Short-Term Gains for Long-Term Results
The common wisdom these days is that content is king, and evergreen content is the kind that grows your site. Evergreen pieces may be a good solid basis for a blog or website, but click bait (trendy, inflammatory or imaginative posts that can go viral) is the type of content that can add high numbers very rapidly. If you’re writing web content on a regular basis, you know that building a site can be a slow process, no matter how stellar your posts may be. Sometimes you’ve got to do something a little bit different to up the odds in your favor.
Click bait, sometimes known as link bait, are blog posts specifically designed to get people talking and linking back to your site. They can anger, create discussions, turn into viral memes and get re-posted thousands of times in a matter of days. No matter what form it takes, if your post is getting a huge emotional response from readers, you’re doing it right.
How you write click bait posts depends entirely on the flavor of your site. It has to fit logically with the rest of your work, blending seamlessly into the whole. Link bait doesn’t have to include controversy, although this is always a valid option. Look for topics that create some sort of emotion in your readers, be it laughter, anger or happiness at finding a new gem. Some successful types of link bait are:
- Funny or weird stories that readers want to share with friends online
- Breaking news stories connected to your blog topic
- Controversial posts that anger readers
- Contests that reward readers for linking back to your site
- Top 10 or top 25 lists
- Lists of valuable resources for readers
- Strong opinions that cause massive debate on both sides of an issue
Link bait often relies on current events, tying them to the blog topic. This tactic calls for immediate response once you find a subject that relates to your blog. Timing is everything here; the first blockbuster post about a subject is the one most likely to go viral. This means you should read about your topic on multiple sites on a daily basis and be ready to jump on a surprising or controversial new side as soon as you spot it.
Make your link bait posts easy to share. Place share buttons for Facebook, Twitter and other sites at the top of the page. Include at least two photos so Pinterest fans can pin your post. Ask your readers to share the post. Sometimes just that little act of asking for a link or share is enough to jostle them into action. Place this call to action twice on the page, once in the top half and once near the end.
Edit your post with a fine-toothed comb before you let it near your site. Edit for content and meaning as well as for grammar, and double-check any links. We’ve all seen viral posts with misspelled words or ridiculous statements later proved to be false. Don’t be on the other end of that embarrassing situation.
Victoria B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.