Creating Linkable Content through Group Interviews, Contests and Surveys
If you’re responsible for link-worthy website copy your antenna should be up at all times for methods to create content that will incite your “linkerati” to link to you.
Here are my favorite tactics for creating content and links – some of which I’ve tested, some of which I’ve observed in action.
1) the Group Interview
You will be blown away by Sugarrae’s Five Link Development Experts: A Group Interview.
And not just by the content. The mechanics of this content creation idea are so clean that they can be lifted out and fit into almost any industry and they work especially well if you’re not a subject matter expert.
The Raw Mechanics:
1) Ask five experts in email what are the two hardest questions they would ask other experts.
2) Send your list of ten questions to each of the experts. Edit their responses into a monster article.
It helps if you’re known or in the community. If not you might should target lesser-known experts or prominent forum members.
The incentive for the contributors here is demonstrating value with notable peers on a site with guaranteed distribution and great link value.
I will definitely be looking for ways to fold this concept into my ongoing content creation efforts for clients.
2) the Contest
One of my favorite examples is Andy Beal’s first SEM Scholarship contest.
Update:It appears that Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest 2 launched today!
Here are the mechanics of his first contest (I haven’t studied the second yet):
1) recruit influential and savvy industry experts to judge your contest
2) recruit sponsors to provide the valued prize.
3) distribute through your network – your blog, the recruited experts, your sponsors perhaps even, your blog contacts – the news of your scholarship contest.
4) make your contest require the submission of content for publishing to your site.
5) hope that the judges can make the time to judge and ensure that the contest entrants are judged by quality-qualifying metrics.
What made his concept so brilliant is that it benefited so many people simultaneously. Here’s an excerpt from my write up of his tactic where I describe who benefits:
1) Andy receives links from SEM bloggers and possibly some news stories for his remarkable contribution
2) Contest winners get prizes and industry attention
3) Industry gets new articles
4) Andy earns excellent content for Marketing Pilgrim by paying with distribution and his “personal brand” relationship
5) Current SEM industry experts get opportunity to reinforce their noteriety + learn new ideas
6) Andy reinforces his role as industry leader/godfather by being a moderator and supporter
Again for this one it helps if you’re already known and notable in your industry.
Andy I’d value a comment to let me know the results of this contest – and whether you’ve got anymore in the works
2 1/2) Contest Concept 2
Here’s another contest concept for those who are just getting started with establishing your reputation, this one from Existential Ventures. I call this one the Butt Booty Naked Stripped Bare Link-to-Me Contest. Transparency’s always cool with me and I think I can make his contest mechanics work for some of my clients
Here are the mechanics as far as I can tell:
1) Identify your favorite/influential/target bloggers (aka linkerati, or Likely Linkers or Lincolns) in a space.
2) Send them emails describing your contest, whereby if they comment in the contest thread they get the equivalent of one entry to win, and if they link to you they get the equivalent of TEN entries to win.
I like the simplicity of this one. If your incentive is right you should get lots of links. If you’re not careful though it could get ugly… I can imagine in one of my primary spaces, where forums are far more prevalent than blogs, that we would have to be careful not to encourage our potential customers to “spam where they sleep.”
It’s not going to brand your expertise the way Andy’s contest concept 1 above does, but it will definitely get you and your site off the ground.
Perhaps, Broc, you’d comment this post to tell us about the goals and results of your contest so far?
3)Surveys + Research
Surveys – if you can find distribution required to get a decent sample – are a great way to create interesting content, especially if you work in some research that give the actual results more substance.
The keys to surveys are good, exciting and interesting questions that will make great action-oriented titles. Further, I suggest you get started with your surveys in forums. Read my Guide to Creating Link Worthy Content Through Forum Participation for the process.
Further, forums are a great place to test how exciting or interesting your chosen subject is and will tell you in short order whether or not you’re on the right track for a larger link bait piece.
Here’s my mechanics for surveys:
1) Ask questions in forums – without asking too often – and see which ones start good conversations. Be upfront that you plan to potentially “cover this thread” in your blog… otherwise it’s no go and forum members will shun you or boot you when they find out what you’re doing.
2) When a forum thread blows up and a lively conversation starts and everyone’s submitting, say, the best deal they’ve ever gotten in their lives, you’ve got a winner.
3) Wait for the thread to cool and then tabulate your results. Consider participating in more than one forum and posting elsewhere when you get a live one.
3 1/2) I have not tested this, but I think that you should consider buying PPC ads to get more people to take your survey. The more voters/contributors the more weight your finished piece will have.
4) Write your article based on your results and add research + great links out to make the article more of a resource.
5) Contact your bloggers to let them know what you’ve written – if they’re sharp they’ll recognize that by linking to your article they’re in effect linking to these forums which is good for community. Plus your resource is so dang good that they’ll feel compelled to link anyways right?
Extending the survey + research concept:
For added weight for your surveys you can start by asking them of established bloggers.
Here are the mechanics:
1) Ask an established blogger to first answer your question/s. Something like: “what is your fondest memory relating to this topic that’s contextually related to my sales cycle?”
2) Offer to mention that you will be linking to this blogger from your survey points, whether that’s only on your site or also in the forums you participate in.
3) Further, you could combine this with concept 1 above and discover the 10 best questions from your 5 experts and then bring these questions to forums for answering, pulling in more traffic, potential links, and better content through crowd wisdom.
There you have it folks – creating linkable content through group interviews, contests and surveys. There are far more methods than these of course. You’ll read more like these in the future from Conversations Monetized… along with an upcoming guide to the mechanics of incenting content submissions and links!
I’d love to hear your thoughts or ideas related to creating content – send them to Garrett@CitationLabs.com. Oh yes – and I’d be happy to discuss with YOU how CitationLabs.com can help you create link-worthy content for YOUR site