As social media marketers, one of the most common questions we get about linkbaiting and social media promotion is this:
My niche is boring and / or non-technical – how do I turn it into something popular and linkable?
Last week I stumbled across a Wikipedia article that was, despite its dry (and boring) subject matter, doing quite well on Digg.
The article in question is this introductory piece on Montessori. You might want to take a few minutes to go through the article and figure out any angle that would make it interesting to the average Digg user. My best idea (and this was after reading the Digg link) was about how the Montessori system was a cover for brainwashing little children and sapping their creativity.
Paranoid delusions apart, I strongly doubt that my spin would have done better than this take:
It is, for lack of a better term, f’n brilliant.
Instead of forcefully making a boring topic appear interesting, this digg user took something that would guarantee attention (Google founders) and related it to a quite uninteresting topic. The result is a Digg headline that probably got enough *blind diggs* to make it popular and it ended up getting 562 diggs (as of writing this article).
I have to admit, when I saw this headline I was in a hurry as well and gave a blind digg before I had time to read the page itself.
The only problem with this linkbait (although to be fair it was just a test) was that it could have been done much better (in terms of optimizing the landing page and in attracting links, if the digger had set up a page on their own site instead).
If you want to do some linkbaiting for your website but are having trouble making your content *interesting*, stop forcing the issue. Instead, follow this simple 3 step process:
1. Find something interesting that appeals to the largest possible audience – it could be anything, Google, grave health risks, global warming, the war in iraq, etc.
For more in this, learn how to attract attention from mainstream media.
2. Find a common thread between the *interesting* and your *boring* content. The most important component is the title (see Michael Gray’s post on title bait) but you also need quality content to back it up.
3. Prep your linkbait for social media goodness. Make it easy for your readers (and especially readers from social media sites) to share your article, make it visually appealing (these two posts on formatting blog posts are good, standard advice for linkbait formatting as well).
Once you can master the art of making uninteresting content interesting using this process of association, the rest of the social promotion stuff is relatively easy to implement. Then, all you need are friends to digg your linkbait…
This article was written on 13 Dec 2007 for Performancing.com.