The History of Link Bait

Woe is me…

A reader contacted me after my last post and called me out for using the term “link bait” in it.

While he was nice enough, the objection seemed to be that only a sleazy marketer would try to “bait” someone to visit, or link to, a web site.

Never mind that I’ve called the term inelegant several times myself.

Or that “link bait” is just a sexy term for high-quality content that benefits the reader.

I can certainly see that the word “bait” has potentially negative connotations even beyond the fishy subtext. Bait and switch comes to mind.

And I also realize that in the early days of blogging, the only creative bait that was utilized by the pioneers amounted to attacks and insults.

But let’s look at the history of the word “bait” as it relates to content, and see if the original connotation is negative or not.

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Discover the Secret Mind Control Method That Hypnotically Persuades Prospects to Buy… Guaranteed!

Ever see headlines like that one?

I’m betting you have.

Last week I asked for your feedback on the term “tutorial marketing,” because I began to think that it may be just a bit too bland.

I think the consensus ended up being that you feel the same way.

The concept behind tutorial marketing is pretty powerful. By taking a strategic educational approach, you are actually selling more effectively, all while allowing the prospect to feel like they were not actually persuaded at all.

The fact that such content can also be effective link bait makes the methodology even more attractive.

Headlines like the one on this post are essentially talking about the same thing, just dressed up in forbidden clothing. It’s a different approach for a different audience, and that particular pitch actually works well with certain demographics.

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Is Net Neutrality Down for the Count?

I’ve written about the importance of Net neutrality to small businesses and entrepreneurs before, but this time I’ll let Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, explain the problem to you:

I think the people who talk about dismantling — threatening — Net neutrality don’t appreciate how important it has been for us to have an independent market for productivity and for applications on the Internet.

Now, if we compare what you can get into your home with earliest modems, it’s maybe 1,000 times as fast. So that market has been very competitive, very successful.

And I think we wouldn’t have seen this explosion in the exciting, tremendous diversity of the kind of things you see on the Web now. So in the future, obviously, we expect to see many more things. We expect to see, very importantly, television streaming over the Internet, which is going to make a very exciting market in television content and maybe entertainment, maybe educational ideas.

The people deploying these things rely on the fact that the Internet is sitting there waiting to carry whatever they can dream up.

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What to Do When Your Idea Sucks

Imagine being an author, writing a book and toiling away in solitude.

You’ve got a general idea for the overall subject matter that’s good, but of course that idea has to be executed on chapter by chapter.

How would you know if one of those chapters sucked?

I suppose if you had a really good, attentive editor, she might tell you. But that’s a luxury that even most published authors don’t have.

So, in all likelihood, you just wouldn’t know.

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How to Get on Techmeme in 3 Simple Steps

Want some good Techmeme exposure?

Here’s 3 easy steps to showing up:

  1. Do a riff on a post by a famous SEO guy.
  2. Offer pedestrian blog writing tips.
  3. This one is the real key… have the word Google in your name.

Sour grapes? Maybe.

But watered down advice like this is why so many bloggers don’t have an audience.

Bonus tip 4: Comment on pedestrian blog writing tips with a post of your own. :)

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Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully

In 1988, The Writer’s Handbook reprinted an article by novelist Stephen King entitled Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully – in Ten Minutes. In it, King told the story of the fateful 10 minutes to which he credits his success as a writer.

Back in 1964, King got in big trouble during his sophomore year in high school. Part of his punishment involved taking a job at a 12-page weekly community newspaper in the small town in Maine where he grew up.

It was at this tiny newspaper that Stephen King met an editor named John Gould, the man who taught King everything he needed to know about writing in one 10 minute review of his first feature piece for the paper.

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The Fight Club Guide to
Successful Online Marketing

Stories sell, there’s no doubt about it.

But they don’t sell because they tell people what to do.

It’s what a story allows people to tell themselves that makes it a powerful selling tool.

Sometimes people do believe what you tell them.

But people rarely ever doubt what they themeselves.

Take the novel and film Fight Club for instance.

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Do You Love Viral Marketing?

Do you?

Do you know what the secret to viral marketing is?

It’s participation.

How a Headline Can Be Link Bait for Bloggers Who Love Viral Marketing.

Have a good weekend. ;)

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Five of Your Headlines… Remixed

Late last week I asked you fine folks to submit posts that you wanted me to take a look at to see if I could improve on the headline a bit. I ended up with more than 60 submissions.

Given the horrendous week this has been (don’t ask), I could only get to 5 for now, since providing my rationale for the changes that are made is important, too.

But I think we’ll also likely do this on a regular basis if you find it useful.

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Give Me 3 Minutes and I’ll Make You a
Better Blogger

So I’m hanging around an Internet forum the other day.

People there are going on about how they “only write for themselves,” and if the reader doesn’t get it “it’s their problem.”

Was I in a creative writing forum? Or maybe over at Robert Bruce’s place?

Nope. It was a “professional” blogging site.

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