Ego bait is content that promotes or features industry influencers on your site. The goal is to then encourage these influencers to link to the post or share it with their network to give your blog greater visibility in your niche and get more eyes on your brand.
It’s a classic “win-win” scenario; the influencer is featured on a prominent site and gets exposure to a different audience. The site, in turn, gets great content and the benefit of (hopefully) being promoted to a new audience as well.
While the name can have some negative connotations — you’re essentially “stroking their ego” to get a link or share from them — the main crux of ego bait is networking. You’re reaching out to experts in your field and making connections, and all parties involved mutually benefit. For this reason, I think a much more suitable name for this tactic is “content networking.” (Which is how I pitch it to clients, incidentally.)
There are a lot of different ways to use your content to network, of course, but here are the five best methods I use on a regular basis. Each of these types of ego bait posts is capable of getting you a ton of backlinks, social shares, traffic and brand visibility, which will hopefully lead to more conversions, sales or leads for your site.
Solicit Expert Guest Posts
Guest posting has always been a great method of link building, and still is. In the traditional sense, though, you usually perform outreach in an attempt to publish your content on someone else’s site. You rarely send an email or tweet asking someone to add his or her content onto your site. By using this approach, however, you have a few distinct advantages:
- Influencers typically produce great content. They’ve built up a substantial following for a reason, and that’s because they deliver what their audience wants on a consistent basis.
- Guest posts on your site can offer insights and expertise that you and your fan base may not be aware of, which lends added value to your site and can give you a fresh perspective.
- Their audience comes to your site. When you guest post on someone else’s site, the traffic usually stays there unless the content is so exceptional they follow one of your backlinks. Conversely, by getting the influencer to post on your site and promote it through their channels, you have an opportunity to convert leads that they would usually get.
Of course, when reaching out to these thought leaders, make it clear that you’ll link to them in exchange for their post and, if they don’t reply via email, feel free to tweet them. Remember, this is about content networking so always be friendly, polite and respectable. Never hound a potential connection or be overly pushy.
Compile a “Best Of” List
Lists are a perfect way to market to multiple brands or influencers at once. When you create a “best of” or “top” list, you’re publicly recommending the thought leader’s service or content, which is a huge incentive for them to share it. For obvious reasons, brands and influencers want their audience to know that someone considers them the “best” at something. It’s a major trust and authority signal and for this reason alone it’s extremely likely they’ll promote it.
This list of the 100 best websites blogs and websites of 2014 from Dailytekk, for example, got over a hundred backlinks (some coming from the sites that are featured!) and hundreds of social shares. Plus, they refresh this content yearly to make it evergreen, and add the “past hits” of lists from previous years at the bottom of the page.
Some tips for compiling lists:
- Make it extensive. If a particular site is a clear leader in the area you’re targeting, don’t forget to include it.
- Longer is better. A list of the “top 150 greatest inventions of all time” is much more authoritative than a “top 5 greatest inventions of all time.” Plus, longer posts enable you to target more long tail keyword phrases.
Interview an Influencer
When interviewing, it’s important to put some thought into what questions your audience will find relevant and stimulating. Don’t just toss out “filler” questions about the influencer’s hobbies or personal life. The point is to come up with a useful, authoritative piece of content that offers insight into the thought process of an expert.
Interviewing an influencer is also great because it can work well for different mediums. You can go the old-fashioned route and feature written questions and answers in a blog post, or for more of a multimedia experience, you can incorporate a podcast or video of the expert. There are a number of tools out there for either solution. If you need help or guidance, feel free to leave a comment below and I’d be glad to help.
Pro tips for interview posts:
- If you do decide to opt for video or podcasting, be sure to transcribe it into text as well in order to get some added SEO value by having some copy on the page. This can help your interview rank for valuable long tail keywords that it wouldn’t otherwise.
- You can also take long tail keywords a step further, by getting creative with your questions. If there are certain terms you think the post has a potential to rank for, work them into your questions/headings.
Create Helpful Resource Lists
A great example of this tactic in action would be this post of six indispensible free and premium SEO tools from KISSmetrics, in which SEMrush was featured and linked to. This list got 885 tweets and 109 backlinks — not too shabby for a guest post!
People are looking to make their work and personal lives easier. If you can offer a post that lists the best resources online to solve their problems, then the chances are great they’re going to link to it or share it.
Additionally, by approaching it from a “content networking” angle, you’ll be creating a great, authoritative piece of content that solves a problem for your audience and promotes the products/services of hugely influential brands or people in your industry. Similar to the “best of “ list, when an influencer is featured in this sort of post, they’re almost most certainly going to want to share it.
To make it work:
- Think long tail. Use this type of post to compliment your long tail keyword and conversational search strategy. Try to incorporate terms that target “top of the funnel” problems. Phrases that include “how to [solve issue]” or “best [solution to problem]” work well.
- If you’re stumped for ideas, think about what tools or resources you use frequently in your niche. If you find them useful, chances are good that your audience will too.
(Image credit: http://blog.zennioptical.com/cream-blue-classic-neutrals-get-makeover/)
Product Featuring Posts
While not suitable for sites in certain industries, this tactic is one that I’ve been recommending to a lot of e-commerce clients lately, particularly in the fashion vertical.
It involves you featuring products from other brands on your site and showcasing how they work well with your products. Here’s an example of how it might work for a company that sells shoes. Find one of your top selling pairs of shoes and create an outfit based around it that showcases articles of clothing from other brands. You could find a shirt from one company, pants from another, a scarf from another and so on. Then write a post around it and highlight some of the great features of your product and theirs, commenting on why they compliment each other so well.
Some pointers for this type of initiative:
- Target up-and-coming brands instead of corporate powerhouses. Businesses like the Gap or Nike will probably not link to you.
- Let the company know about the post. Shoot them an email or tweet hinting that they share- chances are good that they will!
- Design matters. The better you can make the piece look the more likely other brands will be to share it.
- Get creative. Don’t limit yourself to fashion. It’s easy to imagine this sort of post working for a furniture store or a multitude of other products.
After the Ego Bait Post Goes Live
Once the post is published on your site, now it’s time to promote it! Aside from pushing it out on all of your social channels, it’s crucial that you contact any and all of the influencers listed. Let them know that the post is live, suggest that they share it with their audience and then thank them. If you get no response via email, make sure to follow up on social media — just don’t pester anyone. Remember, ego bait is all about creating authoritative posts that feature someone else’s great work, and then networking with that content.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do with this type of initiative. Feel free to leave a comment below with any tips or suggestions of your own!