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DEFINITION: Egobait is any type of content that’s designed to get attention from the people, companies or groups mentioned in the content.
That content is then amplified by the targets it mentions for the benefit of the organisation making the content.
The nice thing about egotists is that they don’t talk about other people. –Lucille S. Harper
The real power behind all egobait lies in mentioning someone or implying you believe in their authority through other actions (eg quoting them) in a way that confirms how they already feel about themselves.
They feel like they deserve to be on that list, get that mention, be quoted on that topic. So it doesn’t surprise them to be included.
And their natural behaviour is to share things about themselves so you’re very likely to get amplified.
Even individuals without a monstrous ego are often looking to self promote in a professional capacity as ‘part of the job’ so will be open to running with a piece of egobait even if they know you’re also getting something out of the whole game.
The other useful feature of using this type of linkbuilding as part of your mix is that it adds variety.
As some traditional ‘quick wins’ have become more difficult it’s important to embrace a few different strategies so you don’t end up with a homogenous lump of links that might all get devalued at once in the future.
I’m going to keep this post very actionable so let’s rip into three types of egobait and how you execute a campaign.
The Best [sites/people/etc] In Y Category
These campaigns are often the easiest to do at scale but you should be careful not to overdo it and to keep it genuine.
A law firm giving out awards for their favourite comic book artists would seem a little bit false and potentially could be devalued or penalised in future.
I’d recommend a sprinkling of these – maybe one campaign per year with 10 or so award pages being built.
That’s the strategy most of our clients follow with us – we’re rarely doing more than one ‘cycle’ of these per year but they add some nice variety to the mix we build for those that do partake.
Design and Layout
I’d recommend a full page takeover with a custom design (or use a page builder like Elementor or Thrive) to make something that looks at least somewhat solid.
If you do something boring like this:
You’ll get results like this (not saying they tried to get any results, it really doesn’t look like they tried with any part of making that list…):
Picking The Right Topics And Winners
Something as broad as ‘best fitness sites’ with 35 winners is pretty weak.
Firstly, nobody wants to be one of some big list. And anyone in the second half feels like they lost to loads of other sites anyway.
Secondly it’s not what they’re proud of.
Make it ‘Best Fitness Sites For Seniors’ or ‘Best Fitness Sites For Diabetics’ or… you get the idea – something where the winners are getting picked for something their blog is all about not the general ‘category’ they fit into.
You also have to be genuine – if you can’t write something about why the site (or business) to which you’re awarding something is awesome, then they probably aren’t going to believe they won something worthwhile or want to amplify it.
You’ll get a lot more mileage out of a list that people are proud to be on ‘I can’t believe I was named alongside XYZ’ is way better than ‘who are these other people?’.
Letting The Winners Know
Let them know by email and congratulate them/mention a couple of highlights of why they got picked and direct them to the post to see your full review on the list etc.
Share the list on Twitter and follow up in the coming days by mentioning specific winners.
Attack on other social platforms if you wish/are active there.
Follow up – offer them whatever it’ll take to get them interested in linking – volunteer to come on their podcast… whatever it takes!
Don’t overdo things, of course, most people aren’t going to link.
You should be happy if about 25% of your winners link (if you have a decent sized brand/site) and 15% if you have a smaller/unremarkable site just doing this to get links.
The bigger your brand the more winners will link – the highest I’ve had on a campaign was 40% for a series of Top 10’s.
That’s 40 niche-relevant links on popular blogs for publishing 10 articles and sending 100 emails.
Not bad right?
Authority Interviews And Roundups
High level authorities in certain industries (SEO etc) have started to hate these but folks like me who don’t speak ‘on the tour’ are often happy to take part because… we know we’re getting a link back.
In fact, the best pitches make this clear upfront by asking for the site to link to, your photo, and a note about your company when they ask the question.
So definitely be straight up – tell them why you’re pitching, what you want them to answer, where it’ll be published, why they will benefit from being on there then tell them what you need.
These work a lot better if you’re more of an established brand and your site has at least some authority/recognition in your industry.
Unlike the awards where you might want to only have 10 or 15 winners, you want to go a bit deeper with these to maximise the amplification and reach.
You aren’t saying they won anything so nobody is going to be offended if there’s 30 people on the list.
Here’s one that did rather well – picking up nearly 60 referring domains off just 24 experts interviewed.
Now given that marketers were involved in this one I’m sure some ‘marketing’ was involved – this isn’t just people sharing the link to where they were mentioned so let’s look at some ways to promote your expert interviews or roundups and get some more traction:
- Once an expert agrees to take part, offer to guest post on their site (if suitable) in exchange, but also just ask if they’d be kind enough to include it on their press/media section if they have one
- If you’re trimming your list after research has yielded too many experts… never trim anyone who has a press/media mentions section on their site
- Make the title of your roundup something people are searching for – this one came up for ‘seo expert tips’ and seems to have been picked up and linked to by a bunch of people just looking for things to link to, quote in their own articles. Free natural links!
- When you put the roundup live contact everyone again with extra thanks and a quick reminder of things they can do to get it more exposure (including throwing a quick link up…). Reiterate any offers you made (Eg a post for them).
- Doing a post for them/swap will work more often if you’ve done an expert interview style series vs a one and done long post with quick quotes from experts.
- But … doing a long post with all the experts together often ranks better/attracts links better after the fact. Imagine if you got 47 Doctors Give Expert Opinion on Vaccination to rank… easy free links would follow most of the time. Think about that for your niche – what are the hot button issues or common searches that would make a ‘one pager’ work. If you can’t think of any consider a series of longer ‘interview’ style posts.
Experts In Every Post
Instead of writing lots of posts, linking to ‘authority sources’ that will never link back like WebMD and so on… why not link to individual thought leaders and experts and quote them.
Their name and qualifications or just recognition as a leader in your field will carry as much weight as the authorities you’re currently just including ad-hoc.
But it’ll have the added benefit you can let them know they were quoted and occasionally pick up links.
Then activate expert mode and stop hoping people link, and make every post you make on your site a mini-expert interview.
Write to 3-5 (LinkedIn works great if they don’t answer the email) experts on the topic you’re covering and ask a question. Include their answers and link in the post.
Let them know they were featured. If one in three link that’s a free link virtually every single post you make, before you even get to work promoting it the normal way.
Taking advantage of ‘experts’ desire to be appreciated, have their opinions shared and their work recognised is a great way to build links.
We’ve recently done this for a brand new site we launched and picked up links at a 14% rate (considering the site had 0 links, 4 articles and 8 Twitter followers… we were pretty excited) and the more apparent authority your site has, the closer to the 40% we had for a client it will get.
Some of you may even have brands where over half will link!
There are dozens of other ways you can twist these ideas to work with your favourite content types – whether you want to do the interviews on your podcast, youtube show or… something entirely different – be creative and have fun with it.
Or if you just want to scale up your linkbuilding and add something new to the mix – give me a shout and we’ll handle it all for you.
Steve Brownlie is the Director of Consulting at Reach Creator, supplying outsourced Public Relations, Link Building, and Influencer Marketing to other agencies, heads of marketing and online entrepreneurs.