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The Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Link Bait

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The Marketer's Ultimate Guide to Link Bait

Can we please come up with some better terminology for the concept of “link bait”? For me, it conjures up thoughts of those evil bait-and-switch advertising schemes.

But I’m going to say it loud and proud — “Not all link bait is bad!” There is a right and wrong way to use link bait, and, when done correctly, marketers can drive more traffic to their content without alienating their audience

Here, we’ll cover what link baiting entails, its benefits, and how to do it the right way. Let’s dive in.

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What is link bait?

The Benefits of Link Baiting

How to Do Link Bait Correctly

Whether link baiting is good or bad depends on how it’s executed, along with the intentions behind it. For instance, it can quickly go awry when marketers use deceptive tactics to drive clicks to content that lacks genuine value.

For Matt Cutts, former Engineer at Google, link bait is “something interesting enough to catch people’s attention, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”

Again, the key is to combine link baiting with high-quality, valuable, and credible content. You want people to click on your blog and read until the last sentence.

Brian Clark of Copyblogger believes that link bait is “just a sexy term for high-quality content that benefits the reader,” even if he does admit that the term is pretty “inelegant.” And I’m sure most experts would agree.

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Let’s talk about why link bait is so effective, how it can benefit your marketing, and how you can approach creating top-notch link bait content that your readers love and value.

The Benefits of Link Baiting

Link bait content can be extremely beneficial to your marketing. Here are three powerful reasons why:

1. Increased search rankings.

Because link bait content is so interesting, it’s usually very effective for generating inbound links (remember, it’s called link bait for a reason). After all, people are way more likely to link back to something if they find it interesting.

As a result, link bait content is extremely powerful for boosting your website’s off-page SEO, which we know is the most influential way to increase your organic search rankings.

As you’re creating content you predict will make great link bait, be sure you’re optimizing it using the keywords you want to rank for in search. This will help you leverage your link bait content to boost your rankings for the keywords you want to get found for in search.

2. More traffic and conversion opportunities.

Because link bait content is interesting, there’s usually a level of virality to it. As a result, link bait content is also usually a major traffic driver.

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The more traffic you generate to your blog or website, the more visitors you have the opportunity to convert into leads and customers. So, make sure your blog is optimized for conversion: use calls-to-action for your top marketing offers on every blog post as well as in your blog’s top/sidebar(s). 

As a bonus, because link bait content has the tendency to rank well in search, the traffic it generates is usually very sustainable. Searchers will continue to stumble upon your link bait content long after it was originally published. 

3. Exposure to new audiences.

Remember how we talked about how link-bait content is usually very sharable? Because this is so, link bait has a lot of potential to expose your business and your content to entirely new audiences you might not have reached otherwise. Thus, it helps you grow the top of your funnel, expanding your reach and attracting new blog readers.

How to Do Link Bait Correctly

As we mentioned earlier, what any given marketer considers to be link bait is going to vary from business to business, industry to industry, and audience to audience.

The key is to experiment with ideas you suspect will be successful for your particular blog, regularly conduct analyses like the one I did above, and learn from what tends to work as link bait for you.

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And just like setting out to create something that will definitely absolutely “go viral” is unrealistic, setting out to create link bait is never a given. The best you can do is emulate the qualities of content that have typically led to tons of inbound links and traffic for you in the past.

Here are some ideas to get you going, each accompanied by successful link bait examples from the HubSpot blog:

1. Original, Striking Data

Publishing original data is not only a great tactic for earning media coverage – it can also make great link bait fodder.

If you’re a business that has access to original data that you can analyze to expose, add to, or refute an industry topic or trend, take advantage of it! If not, maybe there’s an opportunity to partner with a research firm instead.

HubSpot examples:

2. Controversial Content

Who doesn’t love a little heated debate? Controversial content usually garners a lot of attention, so if you have an opinion on a controversial issue, you might have some link bait fodder on your hands.

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Your content doesn’t even have to be centered around a radical opinion to leverage the power of controversy, either; it could just present a bit of data that refutes a common assumption your audience might have.

Just don’t go overboard with the controversy (you do still want to be likeable, right?), and don’t be controversial just for the sake of being controversial. Make sure you’re passionate about the stance you’re taking, and always try to lean on data to back up your claims, like the post below does.

HubSpot examples:

3. Being the Most Comprehensive (Or First) Resource on a Popular Topic

Taking a topic you know performs well on your blog and publishing the most comprehensive post about it on the web (or at least attempting to) can make for a great link bait win.

Is there a popular topic in your industry that few have written about (or written about well) where you see an opportunity? Jump on it! Even better if you can be one of the first to produce comprehensive content on a trending topic.

HubSpot examples:

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4. Visual Content

Visual content is all the rage in marketing these days, especially when it comes to social media marketing. It’s no wonder why it makes excellent link bait content.

Visual content doesn’t have to take the form of infographics to be link bait-friendly. Sometimes posts that compile a list of awesome visuals (like the example below) can work out just as well. Other types of visual link-bait content you can create include cartoons or content/concept visualizations .

HubSpot examples:

5. Content That’s Creative, Entertaining, or Fun

This content goes far because it’s usually easy to consume, great fodder for sharing, quick to scan, requires little thought (on your readers’ end), and well … it’s FUN! Think music videos or just content that leverages pop culture references or emerging, mainstreamed trends, like our example below.

HubSpot examples:

6. A Title People Simply Can’t Help Themselves From Clicking (Accompanied by Awesome Content)

Don’t gloss over the text within those parentheses. The important thing to remember is that your content must live up to its title; otherwise, it won’t achieve link bait status. If your title is overly sensational and hyperbolic, yet the content it alludes to is barely average, you’ll undermine your credibility and lose readers’ interest in your content altogether.

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HubSpot examples:

Back to You

By now, you should be pretty convinced that link bait isn’t always some evil, black-hat marketing tactic you need to avoid like the plague. But that doesn’t mean all link bait is high quality, or that you can’t abuse it. After all, link bait had to get its bad rap from somewhere, right?

Before you set off to create a piece of content you think will make great link bait, make sure your answer to the question, “Will my audience still find this valuable?” is “Absolutely!” And remember, there is such a thing as ‘entertainment value,’ too.

Furthermore, think of your blog as a well-balanced diet. If you feed your blog readers the same diet of lean meat, hearty grains, and nutritious vegetables all the time and deny them any sort of dessert (or variety), they might also start looking for a new chef.

So go ahead — give your readers some candy every once in a while. Just don’t give them too much, or their teeth will rot.

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business environment, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has emerged as a critical facilitator for enhancing operational efficiency and competitiveness. EMM solutions streamline workflows, ensuring that enterprises can adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. This blog discusses the indispensable role of EMM in modern businesses, focusing on how it revolutionizes workflows and positions businesses for success.

EMM solutions act as the backbone for securely managing mobile devices, applications, and content that facilitate remote work and on-the-go access to company resources. With a robust EMM platform, businesses can ensure data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements, even in highly dynamic environments. This not only minimizes the risk of data breaches but also reinforces the company’s reputation for reliability and security.

Seamless Integration Across Devices

In today’s digital era, seamless integration across devices is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining operational fluency within any organization. Our EMM solutions are designed to ensure that employees have secure and efficient access to the necessary resources, irrespective of the device being used. This cross-platform compatibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing for a unified user experience that supports both the agility and dynamism required in modern business operations. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, our solutions provide a cohesive ecosystem where data flows securely and effortlessly across mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that your workforce remains connected and productive, regardless of their physical location. The adoption of our EMM solutions speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to fostering a technologically forward and secure working environment, echoing its dedication to innovation and excellence.

Enhanced Productivity

EMM facilitates the seamless integration of mobile devices into the corporate environment, enabling employees to access corporate resources from anywhere. This flexibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing tasks to be completed outside of traditional office settings.

Unified Endpoint Management

The incorporation of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) within EMM solutions ensures that both mobile and fixed devices can be managed from a single console, simplifying IT operations and enhancing security.

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Advanced Security Protocols

Where cyber threats loom larger than ever, our EMM solutions incorporate cutting-edge security protocols designed to shield your organization’s data from unauthorized access and breaches. By consistently updating and refining our security measures, we ensure your assets are protected by the most advanced defenses available. This commitment to security not only safeguards your information but also reinforces your company’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy enterprise.

Data Protection

EMM solutions implement robust security measures to protect sensitive corporate data across all mobile devices. This includes encryption, secure VPN connections, and the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, thereby mitigating potential data breaches.

Compliance Management

By enforcing security policies and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, EMM helps businesses avoid costly fines and reputational damage associated with data breaches.

Driving Operational Efficiency

In the quest to drive operational efficiency, our solutions streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and automate routine tasks. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we empower businesses to optimize their workflows, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our approach not only enhances operational agility but also positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, setting a new standard in your industry.

Automated Workflows

By automating repetitive tasks, EMM reduces manual efforts, increases accuracy, and speeds up business processes. This automation supports operational efficiency and allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Communication and Collaboration

EMM enhances communication and collaboration among team members by providing tools that facilitate real-time interactions. This immediate exchange of information accelerates decision-making processes and improves project outcomes.

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Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Leaders in various industries have witnessed tangible benefits from implementing EMM solutions, including increased productivity, improved security, and enhanced operational efficiency. Testimonials from these leaders underscore the transformative impact of EMM on their businesses, solidifying its vital role in modern operational strategies.

Our commitment to innovation and excellence propels us to continually refine our EMM solutions, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of technology. This dedication not only solidifies our standing as industry leaders but also guarantees that our clients receive the most advanced and effective operational tools available, tailored specifically to meet their unique business challenges.

Looking Ahead

The evolution of EMM solutions continues at a rapid pace, with advancements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhancing their capabilities. These developments promise even greater efficiencies, security measures, and competitive advantages for businesses willing to invest in the future of mobility management.

Our proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies with EMM solutions positions our clients at the forefront of their industries. By leveraging our deep technical expertise and industry insights, we empower businesses to not only adapt to but also lead in an increasingly digital world, ensuring they remain competitive and resilient amidst rapid technological shifts.

In conclusion, the role of Enterprise Mobility Management in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Its ability to revolutionize workflows, enhance security, and drive operational efficiency positions it as a foundational element of digital transformation strategies. We invite businesses to explore the potential of EMM solutions and partner with us to achieve unprecedented levels of success and innovation in the digital era. Together, we can redefine the boundaries of what is possible in business operations and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry.

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?

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AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.

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Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.

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Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.

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It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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