Using link bait strategies to drive traffic to a particular website is an old tactic for increasing views. Link baiting (similar to clickbaiting) is controversial and is often associated with harassment in the minds of many. Though the word “bait” in the term is used, link baiting is typically not a manipulative practice. When used properly, however, it is an effective tool for driving traffic to a particular site. Link baiting includes a wide variety of applications, ranging from the running of awards or competitions to writing dissenting posts against high-profile bloggers in the hopes of provoking a response, thus drawing more readers to your site.
Have you ever read a blog on Blogspot or watched a video on YouTube, stared at the 100,000 views statement and said to yourself, “How in the world did that get so many views?” If you have, and are staring glumly at your own blog with 10 views, don’t be disappointed. Quite often, the owners of those posts and videos that went “viral” had help—either from hiring a company who specializes in making things go viral, or reading up on how to do it themselves, as you’re doing now.
1. Make a video, with links to your website.
If you are interested in creating a truly viral post that millions of people will watch, share and chat about, then you should consider doing a video of some subject related to the post that you can use to link back to your site. The content need not necessarily be outstanding in order to get 100,000 views, but it should be good, to make viewers want to share it. There are many online sources to assist you in producing a video, such as makeyoutubevideo.com, kizoa.com and wondershare.com.
Before you begin producing the video, you will need to consider what goals you want the video to accomplish. Several questions to think about are:
- Who is this video going to be targeted to?
- What is the tone of the video going to be? Funny? Goofy? Professional? Dramatic?
- What action do you want your viewers to take after they have watched the video? Email it to a bud? Click for more information? Visit the website it mentions?
2. Focus on function, not flair.
While your blog post or video needs to have good content in order to get millions of people to watch, share and gossip about it, it is not necessary to spend hours to create top-notch videos or blog content. If you focus on the presentation of your material, you will generally be more successful. A good rule of thumb is not to force a concept to fit a brand, rather let the brand fit into the concept. Some guidelines to help with this strategy are listed below, with tips for videos listed first:
- Keep it short. An optimal time frame is 15-30 seconds. Rarely are good videos longer than a minute; you should break long stories into several bite-sized movie clips.
- Format for remixing. Design a video that is simple enough to be remixed, reformatted and reworked over and over again by others.
- Do not turn it into a blatant advertisement. If a video feels like an ad, very few viewers will share it, unless it is very powerful.
- Make it shocking. Craft the listing so that the potential viewer can’t help himself, but has to go investigate. A good example is “Re-emergence of Mothman in Virginia!”
- Use creative headlines. Get the viewers thinking, “No way! That couldn’t have happened!” A great title would be something like “Kate Middleton Loses Prince George at State Dinner!!”
And for blogs:
- Be engaging. Your audience needs to feel that you are speaking to them. Frequent use of important words such as “you” and “your” will help your readers feel unique and keep them engaged. If your audience is engaged and enjoys the material you have posted, the chances of them clicking on the links you have provided are much higher than otherwise.
- Be emotional. No, this does not mean be sentimental. It means to consider how you feel in the moments just before you take action. What are you thinking? Do you feel an emotion such as desire, fear or hope? People think alike, so the majority of your readers probably feel the same way that you do. The best way to use this strategy is to focus on catchy, emotionally charged titles for your articles. Here’s an example:
(Standard)—How To Make An Interesting Video.
(Emotionally charged)—The Art Of Cinematography: Making A Movie That Will Captivate Your Audience
- Come up with and answer questions. When writing a post, it is often very powerful if you explore the possible “what-ifs” that will most likely cross the minds of your readers. If you address these possible questions in your post, this will help make your work transparent, as well as prevent your readers from feeling sledge hammered by the one-way opinions of your rival bloggers.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition. Your readers will be viewing your blog post for only a few minutes, so you want to make sure that they come away with the most important information. To do this, tell the reader what the article is about at the beginning and summarize the article at the end. Reiterating key points throughout the material is also helpful.
3. Get onto the “Most Viewed” page
Once your post or video is ready to go, it’s time to get it into the most viewed section. But how? It’s easy. Four quick solutions are listed below:
- Forums. Starting new threads on relevant forums and embedding your video there is helpful. You can jumpstart conversations posting a comment yourself and asking friends to comment as well.
- Facebook. If you have a moderately large presence on Facebook, sharing a video/blog post can have a powerful impact.
- Blogs. Reach out to individuals who operate relevant blogs and get them to post your embedded video on their site. They will probably charge you a small fee, but the results are likely to be worth it in the long run.
- Friends. Ensure that everybody you know watches the video. Try to get them to email it to friends, or to at the very least share it on Facebook.
4. Title/thumbnail optimization
The title and thumbnail are the best way to advertise your video or post. Titles can be changed an unlimited number of times, so sometimes it is wise to use a catchy title for the first several days, and then change it to something else once the views are up. Trendy titles include phrases such as “exclusive”, “behind the scenes” and “leaked video!”
5. Comments: Capitalize On Them.
A controversy is an excellent way to maximize the number of views for your material. If a controversy erupts in the comments section, be sure to capitalize on it to the fullest extent. Get the main antagonist to explain what his problem is and show him how he is wrong. A civil discussion can engage viewers and drive traffic back to your website.
If you need more tactics, take a look at our complete list of link building strategies.
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