How to Create Link Bait (+ Linkable Asset Examples)
How to Create Link Bait (+ Linkable Asset Examples)
For years, bloggers have been bombarded with emails that had pretty much the same outreach excuse.
“I see you linked to that post, and I’ve written a similar one, so feel free to link to it.” © every other outreach specialist
I bet it sounds familiar to you too if your site has been live for more than a year. 🙂
Due to full inboxes of spammy emails, having a similar post isn’t the outreach excuse bloggers will react to today.
On a good day, they will just ignore your letter and forget about it. In the worst case, they will get annoyed and blacklist you. This will close the door to your possible collaborations with them in the future.
Since your goal is to build bridges rather than burn them, there must be a solid excuse to reach out to bloggers.
Instead of the “check-my-similar-post” cliche, you need much better or completely different content.
That’s what digital marketing influencers advocate, particularly Rand Fishkin with his 10x content notion and Brian Dean with his skyscraper technique.
Others have termed it “linkbait”. I personally prefer the term “linkable asset.”
So, what’s the best way to come up with ideas for 10x content? Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and find weak points that posts on your target topic have.
Let me guide you through the whole process on the example of the topic “keyword research tools.”
P.S. I won’t deny that the whole process of creating outreach-worthy link bait is time-consuming. If you’re pressed for time, you can always delegate content creation to professionals. For example, if you’re based in London like me, check out this list of content marketing agencies.
Make your link bait content reasonably long-form
Pain Point. At the moment, posts ranking in the top 10 for “keyword research tools” have 7-15 tools.
Not sure about you but I’m quite picky as a searcher. Before making a final choice, I check out many offers available to make sure I don’t miss anything cool. I want the best possible solution for my money.
Obviously, 15 isn’t the total number of keyword research tools on the market. As a choosey customer, I find it not enough and want to check out a much wider product range.
Solution. As a content writer, you can add more items to your compilation due to the lack of many offerings.
Note. Expanding any topic must be well-grounded. Long-form content is what many guides recommend and what many readers misinterpret.
Creating long-form content that brings value to the readers can be quite challenging, so it’s always a good idea to reach out to the best SEO companies and make sure you are on the right track.
It’s not about the word count. Neither is it about stuffing content with more crappy items just for the sake of the quantity.
Outreach excuse. In your outreach email, you should explain the reason for taking a further step and adding more tools. Why are 7-15 tools listed not enough? Tell how cool the tools you found are, particularly if they:
- have more accurate metrics;
- come packed with unique features making a keyword choice smarter;
- suggest lucrative keyword ideas other tools don’t;
- are cheaper or free, yet they don’t yield to the tools listed elsewhere;
- provide data for more search engines than just Google, e.g. Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Adapt your link bait content to the search intent 100%
Pain Point. I’m a searcher dissatisfied with my current keyword tool and need a better solution. Let’s check out posts ranking in the top 10 for our target topic.
Some bloggers describe keyword tools in a way that sounds like a re-written copy of their official product pages. Others talk only about their favorite features, but it’s still unclear if the features I need are there.
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to register many accounts and do the testing on my own. I was actually hoping to find the necessary info in those posts, but I didn’t.
They all failed to meet my search intent.
Solution. What you can do is compare the features of multiple tools in a table.
With its help, searchers will have a clear picture of what each product has and lacks. That way, they’ll be able to skip irrelevant stuff and focus on what matters only.
You can go the extra mile for people on a tight budget and create one more table with freebies only. It can include both totally free tools and premium products with free plans for starters.
Outreach excuse. Doing such a detailed comparison isn’t a moment’s work. But it will do you a big favor in outreach campaigns.
When doing your blogger outreach, emphasize that your content answers any unanswered question about tools’ functionalities, all in one place.
Not only is it handy, but can also save tons of time for their readers.
Note. Make sure you recheck features available once in a while to keep your data fresh.
Create content based on your personal experience
Pain Point. As a searcher, I’m curious to know how efficient each keyword tool can be for my content plan.
The number of keyword ideas can vary depending on the tool and its database.
For example, tool A may provide 50 keywords for my target topic, while tool B may suggest 75 ideas, which is 50% more.
But if those 25 keywords have miserable search volumes, they provide little to no value. And this numerical superiority of tool B is just a PR stunt.
Solution. Test all the tools on your list and reveal how efficient or inefficient they turned out for your content plan. You can share different stats related to efficiency:
- how many keywords each tool could find for your target topic;
- how many of them performed well or failed for your content production;
- how hard it was to get your content ranking for those keywords and if it;
- coincided with the KD (keyword difficulty) score they showed, etc.
Present this internal data on visually appealing graphs and charts or show the whole process in an explainer video. It will increase the engagement rate and keep visitors on the page much longer, which is another ranking factor.
Outreach excuse. Tell bloggers that your post isn’t another feature overview. It gives a clear idea about the value those features can provide for real.
Bonus. Bloggers may want to share your exclusive findings on social media and refer to them regularly in upcoming posts.
Pain Point. While a single person’s opinion is worth attention, it still feels subjective. Thoughts of many people can make the story less biased to rely on.
As a searcher, I want to know what others think about keyword tools listed. Are they consistent in their opinions? Are there any outliers?
Solution. Survey people in your niche, preferably influencers, and rate tools based on their feedback this way.
Has someone else already posted a round-up of expert opinions on your topic? Then, try to be more inventive.
Instead of asking about the best tools, ask them to rate tools by some other criteria:
- the most cost-effective solution that doesn’t compromise on the quality;
- the largest keyword database;
- the most user-friendly interface (filters, sorting options, data export, etc);
- the richest pack of keyword analysis features, etc.
Outreach excuse. Stress that your content is based on the opinions of many experts rather than someone’s personal vision.
If you’re lucky to get replies from influencers, mention them in your outreach email. It will add a sense of authority to your pitch.
Bonus. This strategy can bring links from both people linking to competing posts and those you survey.
Imagine how much exposure you’ll get if influencers surveyed share your post with their massive audiences.
Contradict well-known facts or common practices
Pain Point. Search volume tells how many times people google a certain keyword on average. That’s why writers rely on this metric to estimate the traffic potential of their upcoming posts.
But does it make much sense?
Today, Google can rank a post for hundreds or even thousands of similar keywords. The volume of a single keyword can’t tell much about the total traffic all keywords can bring to a post.
Instead of a keyword’s search volume, it makes sense to focus on organic traffic of posts that target a topic.
Solution. You can include only keyword tools with an organic traffic metric to your compilation.
Outreach excuse. Notify bloggers that search volume isn’t as insightful for traffic estimation as many people believe. So, tools that estimate a page’s organic traffic are more efficient for keyword research than traditional options.
Your contradiction should surprise many of them, and they’ll react.
Note. Use this approach when you can prove your point only. If your idea sounds far-fetched, bloggers won’t buy it.
Pain Point. Let’s say I finally picked a tool that impressed me with its huge database and metrics. But it spat out tons of keyword ideas for my target topic.
I understand how advantageous it is to have a wide choice of keywords to research.
But with loads of data, I’ll probably get stuck in the maze of keywords for a day or two.
The question is how to organize the whole process and speed things up.
Solution. Share downloadable assets that would help users get through the process.
In this guide, the author provides a free Excel template when guiding readers through competitor research.
Do you have coders in your team or some budget to hire one? If you do, ask them to code an easy-peasy tool and embed it directly in your content.
As an idea, your tool can allow users to upload an Excel doc with their keyword data. Then, it will filter out duplicates or any other trash defined by such criteria as miserable search volumes, etc.
Not sure why writers underestimate this content trick, but it can turn out the real icing on the cake.
Outreach excuse. Accentuate that your tool can help users make effective use of their time. To sound convincing, mention how much time it saved for your own campaigns.
Bonus. If you have a content-heavy page with many items on the list, add category filters like in this article.
These tiny pieces of functionality will make your page much easier to navigate.
Analyze industry changes over time
Pain Point. When I saw Ahrefs as one of the top choices for keyword research, I was like… “What?”
I thought that this tool was mostly for backlink analysis, so what’s going on now?
Let’s see. If you compare the current data page with its version of 2017 via WayBack Machine or its alternatives, you’ll see that their database has grown from 4.6 billion to 11.6 billion keywords.
Looks like they’ve expanded their keyword database indeed.
In this specific example, it’s more of a confusion point rather than a pain point, but you get the idea.
Solution. Time doesn’t stand still. Neither do businesses. Some of them are growing into multi-million dollar corporations, while others are vanishing never to come back again.
You can create a graph illustrating the growth of some brands and the decline of others.
Almost all major keyword tools have a publicly available data page. So, you should have no problem tracking changes in their databases over time.
Outreach excuse. Surprise bloggers how some previously lackluster brands improved their product quality and turned into industry giants. Or vice versa.
They will be curious to check things out.
Note. This may not impress newcomers who’ve no idea about how things worked in your industry years ago.
Better target old-school marketers with years of experience behind their backs.
Find out what’s in demand among outreach prospects
Pain Point. As a searcher, I’m involved in a certain niche. So are many bloggers.
They produce content for audiences in their specific niches. Travel bloggers publish tour guides for travelers, whereas real estate bloggers share tips with homeseekers.
But due to the lack of niche-targeted content, they all have to suggest general stuff to their readers.
For example, photography, travel, and finance blogs below link to the same niche-neutral compilation:
- How to Make a Stunning Photography Website (in 5 Easy Steps)
- Keyword Research for Travel – How to Find the Best Phrases for SEO – SEOTravel
- How Local SEO is Effective for Financial Advisors Website?
Solution. Check out the context, in which your outreach prospects link to competing posts. It can be anything from titles of linking pages to backlink anchors and surrounding text.
You can gain such insights by analyzing competitors’ backlinks.
Then, create content that would fit in the context of bloggers’ write-ups perfectly.
Including this type of content is especially helpful when attempting to outsource link outreach.
Imagine you hire blogger outreach agencies.
Giving them an in demand piece of content to generate links for will drive much better success rates for their campaign.
In our case, you’ll need to test how well keyword tools perform for users in different niches.
Make a list of, say, 50 head terms in each niche and estimate how many long-tail keywords each tool provides for them.
Outreach excuse. Tell bloggers that your post has the data for their specific niche, while the one they link to talks about things in general.
Tease them with the stats you collected to motivate them to take a look.
Bonus. Sure thing it will take a lot of work. But this way, you’ll approach your outreach prospects with content custom-tailored for their posts.
It’s a direct hit regarding outreach email personalization.
Guide readers through the process instead of just advising
Pain Point. This section is more for how-to guides rather than compilations of items.
Let’s say I’m searching for an actionable keyword research guide.
No doubt top-ranking posts are solid. But they all recommend WHAT to do instead of explaining HOW to do it.
No guide sheds light on the stage where things usually get complicated – in the Excel doc with keywords you exported from your tool.
Here are important questions that remain unanswered.
Which keywords should I filter out at once? Shall I group the rest somehow, e.g. by search intent or business value?
Shall I create a standalone post for each keyword with the same meaning yet different wording:
- how to install a WordPress theme;
- WordPress theme installation guide;
- easy ways to install a WP theme.
If no, which one should I choose if they all look promising in terms of metrics, e.g. high search volume, low ranking difficulty, etc?
Shall I use the keyword “types of WP themes” for a standalone post or just for a section of my how-to guide?
And the list goes on…
Solution. Guide readers through the process you follow and comment on every step you take.
When you face a controversy, explain which factors influence your decisions.
Illustrate your steps with screenshots from your Excel doc with keywords. Readers will find it much easier to repeat what you tell them that way.
Outreach excuse. Tell that other authors just scratch the surface, while you dig deep into the guidance and illustrate how it all works from the inside.
Any controversial points are explained.
Serve the purpose that others neglect
Pain Point. Many compilations serve the same purposes – keyword tools for different engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo), PPC, social media, ecommerce, etc.
But there are many other angles to approach this topic from.
For example, compilations of eCommerce keyword tools are mostly for Amazon. How about other marketplaces like Etsy or eBay?
If you google “Etsy keyword tools” or “eBay keyword tools,” you’ll see URLs of landing pages of such tools. But no one has arranged them into a big compilation yet.
It’s quite handy to research keywords in your WordPress interface, but there’s no compilation of keyword tool plugin.
The same goes for negative keyword tools.
Solution. Be the first to cover your topic from a commonly neglected angle.
Keyword research can help you identify such an angle.
Simply add your head term like “keyword tools” and switch to keywords with lower search volumes.
Next, check out if Google suggests compilations of those tools or landing pages of each one in the top.
Outreach excuse. Put focus on the unique angle of your content.
If it’s a compilation of keyword tools for ecommerce, say that you added tools for Etsy and eBay besides Amazon like everyone else did.
Checklist of data sources you’ll need
Got stuck in the process of brainstorming? No worries! Here’s a bunch of sources that will help you out:
- Quora, Reddit and niche forums to find questions that remain unanswered;
- relevant hashtags on social media;
- blog comments on your competing posts;
- Google Autocomplete and Related Searches;
- internal data from your sales team and customer support agents;
- results from A/B tests or any other campaigns you carried out;
- tools for backlink analysis of competing posts;
- keyword research tools;
- consolidate public data (stats someone else collected) from many resources.
This checklist is universal for any content type, e.g. listicles, guides, case studies, reviews, etc.
Just find a unique angle for your post and use it as an outreach excuse.
There you have it. Writing outreach worthy link bait content is by no means easy but one well written piece of content is worth 100 lesser iterations.