The 2 Types Of Successful Linkbaiters

There are two types of successful linkbaiters:

  • Hustlers
  • Spin Doctors

Hustlers are successful because they can mobilise a lot of resources to get the necessary social votes required to get their linkbait to the front page. They will spend money, use leverage, call in favors and generally ask, ask, ask for social votes until they get them and get to the top. These are the people who lead the herd, so to speak, through leverage.

Spin Doctors are successful because they know – either by experience or intuition – how to tap into basic emotions on a mass level. They pull at heart strings, challenge your mind and provoke / evoke action. These are the people who can take the most boring content and give it a fresh and interesting twist.

Which one are you?

It’s not a choice, it’s self-discovery. Are you better at understanding how people tick (not yourself, OTHER people) or are you better at gaining leverage and authority in social circles (online and offline)?

There is no good or bad, it just IS. This is how the linkbaiting game – and on a broader spectrum, the marketing game – works. Accept it, find out what you’re good at and work on polishing it till you’re in the top 5%.

Or outsource it, because if you’re not in the top 5%, you’re wasting more resources than you’re going to be making back from your efforts.

How To Gain Leverage And Authority

  • Follow Ryan Caldwell’s path (
  • Learn the art of positioning yourself.
  • The key is momentum – keep building your contact network and invest as heavily as you can in it.
  • Eventually it will start paying off, and when it does, intensify your efforts (keep up the momentum).
  • Don’t ease off the gas even when you’re guaranteed front-page because of your ‘friends’ – unless you start to piss people off (but you’re smart enough not to do that, right?).

Learning How People Tick

  • Monitor the most popular posts on various social media sites.
  • Eliminate those that are community-specific (Reddit has a very strong political community, Digg has the whole Microsoft-bashing thing, etc).
  • Pick content that goes viral on more than one social media site AND gets a lot of natural backlinks.
  • Read this. Then understand why this is instant linkbait.

It Takes Two…

Whether you’re a master hustler or the best spin doctor on the planet, you’re not going to be as successful by yourself as you’ll be in partnership with someone who complements your qualities perfectly.

Sometimes linkbait can take off by itself – but having someone get it more votes will help give it a bigger push, hence the extra exposure. Most of the time hustling votes with mediocre content is enough to get exposure, but quality content will have a life of its own AND will generate more links.

If your strength is in managing votes, find the best linkbait writers and partner up with them. Vice versa. This counts especially when you’re outsourcing – make sure both sides of the deal (quality and promotion) are handled.

To Summarise:

  • Find out what your strength is (leverage v ideas that move people)
  • Polish your skills
  • Partner up with someone having the opposite skill-set
  • Linkbait your site to double-digit Alexa rankings (hey, it’s possible!)


  1. Lyndon 4 July 2008
  2. Matt Keegan 8 October 2008

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