There’s been a lot of talk about LinkBaiting in the blogosphere, and I’d like to weigh in.

First a little background: Google gives more ranking weight to what they call authoritative sites and pages. It defines those sites as having many outbound and inbound links. So now having links to your site is important to your success online. More simply, inbound links also drive traffic to your site.

So now we have link exchanges and link sales and link finding software. We have free articles on anything you could possibly think of that all contain links back to the author’s site. There are 437 free articles in my Inbox right now, including Rubber Floor Mats or Carpet Floor Mats and The Lowdown on Laminating Film.

LinkBaiting is viral marketing for links, and we love viral marketing. Like all viral marketing, the goal is to get people to write about and pass around your link so that you get free exposure and traffic. You need to give people a reason to mention you in their blog or on their website, and you need something newsworthy or at least write-worthy to get a news source to mention you.

The best treatise on LinkBaiting comes from Nick Wilson on Performancing.com. Nick says that all good LinkBaiting relies on a hook, and he’s come up with different hook categories:

News hook
Contrary Hook
Attack Hook
Resource Hook
Humour Hook

The goal is to offer something so unique and mentionable that other sites will link to your site for free. Other sites will see that mention and add their own in true Viral Marketing fashion. Making you think? Me too.

Here are six LinkBaiting ideas:

1. Come up with a simple free tool for people in your subject area to use, and spread it around.
2. Watch the RSS feeds like a hawk. Jump on and cover a good news story. Comment on a blog or two to get things rolling. This has worked for me.
3. Write a funny list or post in your subject area.
4. Find some funny pics related to your subject area.
5. Come up with some original research (the 10 Most Profitable Programs on Commission Junction This Week was the most popular post on my blog).
6. Give away a free web template, WordPress plugin or graphics file.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that Viral Marketing needs an index case. So go plant the virus somewhere, like at a prominent blog site or two in your niche, or at a forum site, or both.

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