Just like at your local mall, commerce on the Internet is all about traffic. Traffic to your site means interest, page views, higher search rankings, and, most importantly, sales. But, while that Mom and Pop ice-cream stand at the mall can count on a steady stream of sales from the preteens who hang out after school, Internet sites don’t have the luxury of foot traffic. So, how do you ensure a steady stream of visitors to your site—visitors who translate into a steady stream of income? One word: sharebait.
What Is Sharebait?
Sharebait—sometimes called linkbait or tweetbait—is, simply put, content that’s attractive enough to make the people viewing it want to share it with their friends. It’s website content that attracts attention and gets people to hyperlink to your site, improving its search engine page ranking. More shares can raise the bait’s ranking on social media outlets, generating backlinks to your site and can increasing your overall exposure—all good news for you in the crowded marketplace of the Internet.
Think of it as dangling a juicy worm on a line to attract a fish. But, you don’t want to snag that fish. Using sharebait is more like catch and release. You want that first fish to swim away and share the news of that lovely, juicy worm with all its friends. With luck, your bait will get Tweeted, emailed and maybe even added to the discovery engine, Stumbleupon. Fingers crossed, it might even reach the Holy Grail of content marketing: going viral.
How to Use It
Sharebait can be an inspirational phrase, a news-worthy event or a visual pun like this spoof on the motion picture “Life of Pi.” It needs to be creative, funny or valuable in some way. It has to touch and engage readers, inspiring them to want to share it. It must be unique, and, most importantly, it must touch the emotions of your readers. Emotional content inspires people to want to share that experience with their friends.
Start by researching quality copywriters for hire. You’ll need a good writer on your team; your bait won’t catch many fish if it’s not truly yummy. You don’t want those fish to nibble and swim away, after all. You want them to take a big, satisfying bite. Your writer can craft a wide variety of shareable content: useful tips for everyday problems, aggregated information in the form of infographics, or timely topics that will draw readers into a passionate debate. People love to share funny stories, as well, and stories of real-life struggles and triumph.
The possible combinations of shareable content are nearly infinite. With a little trial and error—and a touch of luck—you’ll find the content that reaches out to your specific readers and makes the biggest splash. Once those ripples start spreading, there’s no telling how far they will go.
Kate C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.