And the Verdict on Linkbaiting Is…

Apathy and resignation.

Last week, I opened up a discussion on whether or not the term “linkbaiting” was the best way to describe what has evolved into a new marketing services sector. At its essence, linkbait is simply great content with an angle that prompts links and social media action.

This isn’t simply an academic discussion. It’s not much of a secret that I’ve been working with clients in this area, despite not advertising it (until today). Social media marketing is the here and now of effective online marketing, as well as its future, and it goes well beyond great search engine rankings (no matter how sweet those can be when they arrive).

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The David Ogilvy Playbook for Business Blogging

Ogilvy on Advertising

We’re at the beginning of a huge shift in what constitutes “advertising” thanks to social media. Advertising legend David Ogilvy worked through a similar period of drastic change, and pioneered some of the most effective techniques of his day.

One would think that the wisdom of Ogilvy would have little application to social media marketing. To the contrary, I think his philosophies are dead on the money.

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Scandalous Weekend Links

  • Want a juicy tale involving Robert Scoble, his brother Ben, a franchise fiasco, a bullying corporation, and a disappearing post from Scoble’s own blog? Then you’ve got to read this. Additional coverage here and here.
  • Speaking of Scoble, he seems to have gone off the deep end because people are not linking to him (which of course has resulted in a flurry of links). I don’t want to break another New Year’s resolution here, but has Scoble slapped on the water skis? Just kidding Robert, but I’ve noticed that you haven’t linked to me in a while…
  • Does this “new” WordPress theme look familiar to anyone? Have I just fallen for the latest devious form of linkbait?
  • And finally, some good news… after the most topsy-turvy, speculation-filled start of a year for a major web property that I’ve ever witnessed, the Performancing blog is back open for business and helmed by Nick Wilson (and you). Kudos to Nick for saving a great content resource, and something tells me that newly-departed Chris Garrett will be back up and running in no time.

Hey, this is kinda fun. Maybe I should do this every weekend… a Page Six for social media marketing nerds. :)

Tip your editor with scandalous blogosphere links here.

Why Content Promotion is a Virtuous Necessity

Along with the debate over whether the term linkbait is good or bad for content creators and marketers, there’s also been a related debate going on. What’s more important, content or promotion?

I wish I had been bookmarking all the discussion along the way, because there have been a lot of key insights. However, I think Lee Odden summarizes the consensus quite clearly:

If you create great content and no one knows about it to link to it, you’re spinning your wheels. A combination of content as well as social networking, link networking, public relations and gaining editorial visibility as well as viral and individual link solicitations will all work together synergistically. Building a community of consumers of your content as well as relationships with the media in your industry is the distribution network necessary to gain the most link value out of creating great content.

Content or promotion? Yes to both.

It’s no secret that I’m a content guy. But I’ve always promoted my content behind the scenes to get started in a niche, and I may have been guilty of taking it for granted that everyone understood that as well. To rectify, I recently followed up my post about cornerstone content with one about getting the word out.

Creating great content makes promoting it relatively painless. In fact, creating great content and not getting it noticed is an online marketing sin.

The key to successful content promotion is to start relationships, not beg for links. Over time, you’ll find yourself part of a relevant network within your niche, and content promotion becomes a whole lot easier going forward.

2007 Bloggies Finalist for Best Web Development Blog

2007 Bloggines Finalist

I have to admit, it caught me a bit off guard to see Copyblogger as a finalist for the 7th Annual Weblog Awards in the Web Development category. Many thanks to whoever nominated and voted for me!

I’ve got some pretty stiff competition though:

Head on over to vote, and make sure to check out all the categories… Lifehacker got my vote for Weblog of the Year. Winners will be announced at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin on March 12.

SEO Copywriting Techniques
That Readers Love

SEO Copywriting 2.0While the reaction to your content off-page has become the critical determining factor when it comes to search engine rankings, your targeted keyword phrase should still appear on the page itself. And while there’s little consensus in this area, having your keyword combinations appear throughout the page copy generally helps search engines further identify the relevancy of the page for those keywords.

The good news is, copywriting best practices can create compelling, engaging content that also contains repeated keywords and phrases. You never want to sacrifice readability in the pursuit of rankings, but given that links are more important than on-page keyword repetition, you should never have to.

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Linkbaiting: Vote Yes or No This Week Only

Coming into the New Year, I resolved not to use the term “linkbait” any longer. Linkbait is simply compelling content that’s remarkable, and in social media the remark is mostly made via the link. Compelling content is simply compelling content, right?

However, not only has the term not gone away, it’s gaining strength. For example, we have this and this and this and this, and also this and this thus far in the first 24 days of 2007.

If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, read this.

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The Benefits of a Holistic Approach to Social Media Marketing

It came as quite a shock to see Performancing abruptly shut down its advertising network yesterday. Since I often chat with Chris Garrett and Nick Wilson about various things, I’ve known that there have been serious cost issues, especially related to maintaining the huge server expense that the free Metrics service caused. Unloading Metrics simply had to happen, but I expected the Partners program to carry on, even after Nick resigned.

I think people are surprised that such a high-profile company could fail. After all, they did everything right—scores of valuable content, the Performancing for Firefox blog editor that resulted in untold amounts of back links, and other remarkable free services.

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Five Link Building Strategies That Work

SEO Copywriting 2.0We’ve seen that the real secret to SEO Copywriting 2.0 is creating compelling content that naturally attracts links, rather than begging for links to our keyword-stuffed “optimized” web page. In other words, SEO copywriting is now all about response-oriented copy—concepts and words that ultimately result in a favorable action from the reader.

Since the popularity of our content depends on the reaction to it off-page, it makes sense that we might also need to step outside the confines of the page itself to get the word out. Luckily, the same copywriting skills you use to conceive and create your content apply to promoting it as well.

The way to create compelling content is to focus on “what’s in it for the reader.” Likewise, no one is going to link to you unless doing so gives them a benefit as well.

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Why Linking to Other Blogs is Critical

Kevin O’Keefe posted a great piece recently called Linking to and blogging about competitors’ blogs is smart. Darren at Problogger has also pointed out Kevin’s thoughts, because Darren knows that other than developing your own compelling original content, linking out to other relevant bloggers is critical to growth.

And often, the most relevant bloggers in your field will be your competition.

Kevin writes about lawyers specifically, and how many of them can’t see the benefits of linking out to others in their practice areas. By refusing to link out to and engage with other legal bloggers, attorneys are missing the entire point of the power of blogging.

I can’t say I’m surprised by this attitude, though.

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