How the Discovery Channel Can Help You Score Links

Myth BustersIt’s time to bust a myth that’s been running around the Interwebs lately.

There are some folks who feel that certain subject matter makes it impossible to naturally attract links with content. Others know that with a bit of imagination, just about any topic can support the successful development of remarkable content that results in links.

Scoring attention with the geeks at Digg is easier with certain subject matter, and that’s true of any specialized audience, big or small. When it comes to our own profession, hobby, or circumstances, we’re all geeks. We want to know the latest specialized details that matter to us, and we love it when that information is presented in an interesting or even entertaining manner.

Don’t believe me? Just watch the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, or any of the scores of other niche cable channels and programs that cater to enthusiasts. It’s not really surprising that these shows appeal to people with a passion for or interest in the subject matter. What’s amazing is how they’ve drawn in new viewers due to the way the information is presented.

Not enough linkers in your niche? Find a way to make the topic appeal to the linkerati.

Rand Fishkin is doing a series of posts on creating content that appeals to a link-savvy audience. I happen to know for a fact that members of the SEOmoz crew are big Discovery Channel fans, and Rand’s content ideas for otherwise boring subjects proves it:

Cleaning Supplies:

• A list of the worst stains possible with information on how to clean each of them, photos and a sexy chart displaying degree of difficulty (i.e. red wine is twice as bad as balsamic vinegar). Scientific explanations (ala Alton Brown) would go a long way, too. Boing Boing would probably love this one, as would tons of stay-at-home parents and OCD neat-freaks :)

Used Books:

• Demographic trends of book ownership – what income groups, geographies, racial, gender and age brackets are most likely to own particular books in the US (actually, I’d love to read this article right now; I bet it would go straight to the top of Reddit, too).

Nanny Services:

• A list of rare but effective techniques to help with potty training, learning to read, putting kids to sleep, getting them to enjoy vegetables, etc. (there are a lot of parenting blogs out there who’d eat this stuff up).

Paper & Packaging Products:

• How the packaging guys used their expertise to design devices that would protect an egg from a 100MPH impact – forget those science classes off the first story roof! You could pick up some serious link love from every high school physics teacher in the country with a website.

Rand then offers a litmus test for determining if you’re on the right track with your link attraction idea:

1. Find someone in your industry who won’t steal your idea (a colleague, a coworker, a boss or even a web-unsavvy competitor)

2. Tell them that you read or saw the article somewhere and describe it, including the reasons it’s so interesting

3. If they ask you to email them the link (independent of you offering), you’ve got a winner on your hands

Don’t let people convince you that your topic can’t be made to appeal to the social media crowd. A bit of imagination mixed with a little inspirational cable television may be your ticket to a load of links.

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  1. That, my friend, is really good.

    No really … really good.

    But I’m out to top it !

  2. I have no doubt. I’ll be looking for it. 😉

  3. OMG ! Is that a real image up there ?

    That’s a rarity around here isn’t it ?

    You up to something ?

    I gotta go write a post – ” making whloesale changes…hype and hyperbole at 10.”

    Bad thing is I’m not sure what hyperbole is.

    Pasta maybe ?

  4. Haha… you know, I know how important images are, I’ve just been lazy. I’m turning over a whole new photogenic leaf.

  5. Glad to see a not-so-old dog can learn to use a new schtick.

  6. Brian, did you catch Jeff’s piece on Drivl regarding the Mythbusters? :)

  7. Rand, I absolutely did. I read your post, thought of Jeff’s post, and had something to write about. And trust me… I had my doubts coming into this evening. :)

    In fact, that’s a better closing link. Fixed.

  8. Mythbusters is one of my fav program on discovery and i shouldn’t be alive also . i have learned many things from their . your topic is really cool and nice specially for who want get linked .

  9. Brian,

    What are you thoughts on philosophical/emotionally-charged content vs. “how-to” content when attracting the linkerati?

    I have repeatedly seen that providing the how-to information will get links, but what if your content is not always geared towards how-to lists and life hacks?

    Any thoughts?

  10. Aaron,
    I think you have a point about the how-to content getting more links.

    Another great post that gives me tons of ideas. Now it I could just type fast enough to use 1% of them…

  11. Brian;

    First let me say that I was shocked to see an actual photo on your blog.


    And for you niche folks out there.

    I am a major niche blogger (who cares about white papers right?), but am proof that a really narrow niche can actually get attention.

    I think it is us niche’s that are differentiating the blogosphere.


  12. Aaron, My take on posting philosophical/emotionally-charged content is to do it on your own site.

    Interesting example: LifeHacker, which I love and visit each day, opened up their site to comments and new members. They said just be interesting and make us laugh. I posted the following “philosophical/emotionally-charged” poem that I wrote in the comments to get their attention:

    The Gore’s Prayer

    Al Father, who art in transit,
    Phony be thy game.
    Thy Lear-Jet hums.
    Those lies you’ve spun,
    About Earth, and your huge mansion.

    Give us a break, your daily dread.
    And forgive us with bus passes,
    As we curse those flying first-class above us.
    And lead us not into stagflation,
    But humor us more, Sir Carbon-Knievel.

    I could be wrong, but I swore it was accepted and went live last night, but mysteriously today it is gone. I sent them an email asking what gives, but they have not responded yet. So, post away, but it’s not always a guarantee the big dogs will post, appreciate, or possibly reject your content.

  13. These are some really TERRIFIC and insightful ideas to help make boring copy more interesting.

    I am in the process of creating a link bait article right now about the different types of PIEGONS by national region, and how they have adapted to their environments (Darwin-ish). But this will help my client sell their pigeon spikes I’m sure.


  14. I sent this article around our marketing department.

    Within minutes of each other three (non-linkerati) work colleagues replied with the same question.

    “What is the Interwebs?”

    Unexpectedly, CopyBlogger just made my day.

  15. The litmus test is great. Right on.

  16. Makes me think about how a market, industry or niche is perceived…people on the outside looking in might not recognize the coolness (or “linkability”) of something, and the people on the inside can’t get sucked into the outside view.

    They know it’s cool, just get creative and project that outward in your writing. The litmus test is great…

  17. A very useful tips to make boring topics much more interesting !

  18. Brian,

    That’s pretty much ‘on the money’.

    I’ve also been using a simple but VERY effective link method on my blog:

  19. “What is the Interwebs?”

    Hahaha… that’s hilarious! It’s clear I need to log off and get back to the real world, because the thought never crossed my mind that some may not get that one. :)

  20. Great post Brian – I would like to include it in the Carnival of Entrepreneurs that I am hosting for Ben Y this week. Is that OK with you?

  21. Sure Leah. :)

  22. This proves how to link out to reliable resources helps your rankings.