Linkbait: Good Content Isn’t Good Enough

14 Oct

Just recently, I was talking with someone about a linkbait campaign. He suggested that, instead of creating one page with outstanding content, it might be better to create two pages with good content for the same price. I didn’t agree with this, and we had a discussion about this topic, which lead to an (in my opinion) interesting comparison.

Bugatti Veyron

For those who know a thing or two about cars – in my opinion, choosing between good content and excellent content is like choosing between giving away a BMW, or giving away a Bugatti Veyron. A BMW (I just couldn’t resist :) ) is a car. It’s a great, luxury car, but it’s still a car. You can see them in your street, on the highway, in the city, etc. And although most people can never afford a BMW, it’s nearly a commodity.

A Bugatti Veyron isn’t a car, it’s a space ship. It’s a dream. It’s the most exclusive car in the world. You might know someone who has a friend, who has a neighbor, who’s cousin has once seen a Bugatti Veyron, but that’s about as close as you’ll ever get to a Veyron.

Giving away a BMW is good. You’ll definitely attract some attention with the campaign, and some people will think “Whoah, I’d definitely want to win one of those”. However, a campaign like this has probably been done by others at least a few times, so it basically isn’t something new. Participants will enter, and move on with their life.

Giving away a Bugatti Veyron is amazing. It probably hasn’t been done before by someone else, so it’s unique. People will go “What the….? Are they out of their mind? Hey Mike! Come take a look at this, someone’s giving away a Veyron!”. They will participate, tell their friends about it, and keep a close eye on the contest to see if they’ve won. And even when they didn’t win, they’ll keep telling their friends that they’ve ‘nearly won a Veyron once’.

The first contest, just like good content, will probably result in some solid links and an increase in traffic. With the second campaign, just like with excellent content, you’ll see all kinds of press jump on it. If you promote it the right way, it can lead to dozens of excellent links, hundreds of other mentions, and a shitload of traffic.

My point is that, with linkbait, it’s well worth it to put in a few extra hours, dollars or whatever to shift your content’s quality from good to excellent. The simple equation below, which I use for link marketing, confirms that statement.

Result = Perceived Offer Value * (Sales Effort * Sales Quality)

Result = end result, measured in links, traffic, etc.
Perceived Offer Value = whatever you have to offer, and how your audience values that offer. This usually is content, but can also be services, money, etc. in exchange.
Sales Effort = how much effort (in hours) do you have to put into it to reach your result.
Sales Quality = how good are you at selling your product? This also includes your network, etc.

To explain the equation, in case it’s not clear to understand (I usually suck at making myself clear :) ) – the result is always fixed, because you’ve (hopefully) set yourself a goal.

Let’s say that the result you’re after has to be 100x. With an offer value (and your content usually is your offer) of 10x, it means that you’ll have to put in the same amount of sales to reach the end result of 100x. However, if you double the quality of your offer, you’ll only have to put in half of the effort that you originally needed.

Keep in mind that the sales quality (the quality of your pitch, how you use your network, etc.) plays a role in this as well. A low sales quality raises the amount of effort you need to put in, but a high sales quality can decrease that amount.

To make a long story short: increase the quality of your content, so you can take it easier on the promotional efforts to reach the same result. Or even better, put in the same effort you had planned, and achieve much better results.

18 Responses to “Linkbait: Good Content Isn’t Good Enough”

  1. evl October 14, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    Brilliant way of explaining it. With a few dollars link baiting becomes much easier :)

  2. Angela Moore October 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    Without a doubt, sacrificing “great” to get more “good” won’t help you. There’s always the “someone else has done that” factor that you have to keep in mind. In order to stand out you need to be original. Love the car analogy by the way :)

  3. AJ Ghergich October 15, 2009 at 2:35 am #

    Great post. At nearly $2 million for the car you better get a lot of links for that giveaway lol. Anyhow great analogy.

  4. Todd Hebert October 15, 2009 at 3:02 am #

    Very nice post. I think of the cash for clunkers program. Wow $4500 for my old junk car I have to get a new one with this kind of deal.

  5. Frank October 15, 2009 at 3:10 am #

    Yeah, but now Digg has PPC so maybe good with a nice fat budget has a shot at greatness ;)

  6. Kevin Spence October 15, 2009 at 4:14 am #

    Yes, but you could give away how many BMWs for the price of giving away a Veyron?

    I generally try to create large amounts of moderate link bait.

    Going all out is too risky, it’s so hit or miss.

  7. Wiep October 15, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    @Kevin; I agree that putting all you have on black (or red) is risky, but for me, the benefits outweigh the risks.

    @AJ: True, but when you’re a luxury car dealer, a Veyron will never cost you $2 mil ;)

  8. Imrozz @ discount web design October 15, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Hmmmmm, whata wonderful article. You are right the Bugatti Veyron is not a car. Its a dream.

  9. hitesh sahni October 16, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    You picked up a brilliant analogy to explain your point. I agree with that but the effort involved in making content from good to excellent is also not an easy pie.

    Great advice. Thanks.

  10. DanielthePoet October 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    I’ve definitely begun redoubling my quality content efforts. For far too long, many of us have looked for the magic tool, tactic, or promotion, when all along we could have been killing it with content that rocks our readers socks off.

    Well done.

  11. hitesh sahni October 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    @DanielthePoet: You have a point there. The magic lies more in the content itself, not in some promotion tool or tactic. Even I am rethinking my content’s quality standards.

  12. pierreB October 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    Very interesting post … Bugatti Veyron what a dream ?

  13. BWI October 21, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    Very true, and the extra time and effort really doesn’t have to be much. 1 extra hour can be the difference in a 1,000 visitors.

  14. poorblogger October 31, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Hm.. Nicely post. Buggati Veyron as a prize is unrealistic.
    Maybe some of them will think as a SCAM.. he hehe

  15. Bernd November 2, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Of course if the press jump on it the promotional effect is excellent. But is this really a sign of “good content”. In my oppinion its effective content.

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