Practical Guide to Finding Link Bait Inspiration
One of those tactics that keep working for me is creating viral pieces (like long lists full of cool images) that attracts thousands of visitors and dozens of links. People seem to never grow tired of “20+ Weird Something” (I myself am guilty of regularly sharing these types of content with friends via IM and social media). So why not try them if they work and entertain people (looks like a win-win to me)?
As I’ve been playing with them for a while, I decided to go ahead and share my sources of link bait inspiration (in a hope you’ll share yours in return).
1. Google Search
Good old Google search is quite understandably my first source of inspiration. Here’s one trick I’d like to share that always works: Google wildcard search. Just insert * anywhere in-between your topical search phrase and you’ll get plenty of suggested term variations right within SERPs:
- [amazing * swimming pools] for more ideas on swimming pool designs;
- ["what kind * are you"] for more viral quiz ideas;
- [weird *] just for something bizarre.
- Use usual “viral list” cliches to get more ideas (amazing * word, awesome * word, weird * word, bizarre * word, etc). Note: in case Google decides to drop the word as being “descriptive and unimportant” be sure to place plus sign (+) before it to force Google to include it;
- StumbleUpon addon installed with search integration activated helps much to quickly make judgments as to how popular each article might be (see the stars indicator in the screenshot above)
2. Google Images
I use Google images more and more lately. Most importantly, it allows great visualization: you almost always can predict which type of content each listing represents: an ecommerce shop, “viral” blog post or any other. Thus, you only click through if it looks like something worth attention (=saves time a lot) Look:
Besides, Google images search seems much more straightforward than general search: those images that are linked to, contain search terms in alt text and file path are usually ranked higher. So first pages will contain plenty of images from viral pieces like you do (other types of content seldom put so much emphasis on images).
3. Digg Search
I hadn’t used it before it was improved so it is hard to tell how much better it became but now I just love it! Here’s a quick guide:
- Go to Digg;
- Provide your base search term and include +p to make it show only those stories that hit the front page.
That’s usually enough to get an idea of what type of topics end up going popular on Digg.
Here are a few more useful Digg search filters:
- Narrow search by media (stories / videos / images): search sidebar option;
- See only popular stories on your topic coming from one particular site (site:domain.com);
- Add +b to see buried stories (another very essential option for your topic analysis).
4. Flickr Groups
Flickr is an awesome source of inspiration. Last year I did a detailed post on Flickr search tools that make searching it much easier. Another useful tip that always turn effective for me is browsing through Flickr groups that unite photos on one particular topic.
While I didn’t have much luck finding really cool Flickr groups through its built-in Groups search option, I came up with an alternative way:
- Search all images using your base term (and probably using one of the tools mentioned above);
- Look which “pools” most popular / commented / favorited images belong to. Chances are, you will find many quality relevant Flickr groups this way:
5. Inspiration “Lucky” Buttons
Oftentimes. you just don’t even know the base words: you just need something awesome to write about. Or you’re just stuck and need something completely new and fresh. Or you have much free time (which is unlikely, I know).
In all those situations, just clicking through random links and scanning everything that comes up is the best thing you can do. Here are a few tools that will help:
StumbleUpon ToolBar “Stumble!” Button
- Just click it and you will be shown most popular stories that are likely to appeal to you (based on your preferences and SU browsing and thumbing history).
- You can also customize it to show (a) pages from one of the channels, (b) pages thumbed by your friends, (c) pages related to the term you specify:
FriendBar “Lucky” Button
FriendBar is a FireFox addon that aggregates your Facebook and Twitter accounts allowing you to track updates in both social media networks. One of its features is a “Lucky button” that shows you a random story currently popular on Twitter.
Yoono “Surprise” Button
Yoono is another FireFox addon that creates a handy “social” sidebar in your browser aggregating your Twitter, Facebook, Piczo, Flickr and Friendfeed accounts. By clicking a “Surprise” button at the bottom of the widget you will be taken to a random page.
- The button sows the most relevant page based on the content in your bookmark folder.
- You can also ask for a “surprise” based on one of your bookmark folders.
- You can check an option to have a surprise each time you launch your browser.
Digg Random Story
Any inspiration tips to share? Share them in the comments!
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