Check this quote from Lee Odden, in which he succinctly describes social media marketing:
“Useful, unique and provocative content plus a robust distribution channel are the building blocks for a long term social media and viral link building strategy.”
I would add “consistent” in there somewhere too – you’re not going to get away with a one hit viral wonder and be able to quit writing and distributing.
I’m sure Odden would agree, he just didn’t include that in the paragraph I lifted from “How Social Media Impacts Search Engine Marketing” to use as a definition
So… regarding content creation that’s worthy of a large scale distribution attempt I’m not sure if you can beat Andy Hagan’s recent link bait behemoth post.
I still check back into that regularly to remind myself of best practices.
As far as distribution goes though he’s lacking some key pieces, and the framework of his strategy seems more oriented towards the “one hit wonder” than building an ongoing content relationship with your customers/readers.
He DOES hit social media biggies like:
Digg (we’re not hitting well in this one for our current big project)
Delicious (good for links)
Netscape (I like this one quite a bit – our posts on their site shows up quickly in Google SERPs)
StumbleUpon (lovely for us so far – not big buyers, but very passionate)
Reddit (a trickle so far… not sure of the audience)
Hagans doesn’t mention some distribution channels that I think are strong for my most recent link bait project though… Distribution channels that will maximize exposure and some of the brand and potential subscriber value from all that writing you just finished.
1) Email newsletter:
An oldie but a goodie.
You can bet your butt that our 1,500 list will be getting a link to our recent “link bait” project in the next newsletter. Not only because it took me weeks of forum research and days of writing. It’s also a helpful document targeted at their interests and needs and I want them to know that we care about them.
Also… there’s a link to subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this massive resource I wrote.
2) Your blog:
Yes of course you probably publish your link bait pieces directly in your blog… but are you calling out to folks to subscribe to your blog at the end of the piece? Letting them know that there’s more great content where that came from?
(Hagans does this, but doesn’t recommend it in his piece
3) Comments on blogs:
Am I suggesting you spam blog comments? Not exactly, though I’m certainly suggesting that you aggressively seek out blog posts that are related to your big pieces and leave comments there. If you’re in a fairly under-represented blog space like the one I’m in now it can be fairly easy to saturate
4) Emails to related bloggers:
Nope – I’m not too proud to beg. Especially not after working hard on a huge content piece.
5) Forum participation:
I try to base my content as much as possible on forum participation I have, so this one is a no-brainer to me. I simply include a link in one of the threads I started and ask folks for feedback.
If you’re not in any industry-related forums already you should consider joining for distribution’s sake, but be prepared for a struggle in proving that, though you’re a marketer seeking to leech every last dollar from their wallets you still care enough to create incredible content.
(I can’t emphasize enough the value forum participation has brought to me as far as understanding our market and getting a sense of how they talk. Absolutely priceless. Painful at times, but priceless.)
These are just a few ideas – I’d love to hear any other thoughts out there on maximizing distribution and over all value of link bait.