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What is Ego Bait and How Effective is it?

No doubt most people will have heard of link bait. The process of creating content almost solely for the purpose of gleaning links off others. Well, ego bait isn’t much different to this; however, rather than simply creating a generic blog post or infographic, you actually target specific people or businesses in an effort to get them to link to or promote your work.

It sounds convoluted, and many would probably argue that it is. However, it can also be hugely effective. So how does it actually work?

Well, let’s say I fancy writing about the 10 best SEO bloggers. Rather than just writing a quick summary with a few links and hoping that somebody will stumble across it, I could actually contact the 10 bloggers I was looking to feature. For instance, rather than saying “hey, you’re on my list, link to me”, I could instead ask for a quote or carry out a short interview.

By making the intended target (I realise that sounds bad) aware of what’s happening, you’ve got a much better chance of having your post widely distributed and get them to link to it. Of course it’s not guaranteed – few things are – but as soon as you mention to somebody that you’re planning on featuring them in a Top 10 list, you’re going to get their attention.

After all, if I was to contact you and say that you’re the best in your industry, that’s basically a free bit of advertising. Why wouldn’t you then want to help promote it a little bit more? We always try to boost our own profiles wherever possible, so if someone does this for you it almost acts as an impartial reference – which is a massive bonus. I’d certainly be happy if I was told I was being featured.

This can be applied to businesses too of course. Anybody who has a vested interest in marketing themselves in any capacity should be reasonably interested in fact. It will help though if you have some kind of presence to begin with. If you’ve got a brand new blog with no strength or authority, people are likely to see through the attempt and will probably have no interest in giving you publicity. Equally, if you’re going to go after a-list celebrities or FTSE 100 companies, you’re probably not going to get a response.

To be effective, ego bait needs to be truthful, informative and actually offer something to the everyday reader as well as the recipient. Don’t be excessively sycophantic and make sure that your motives aren’t obvious. Asking for contributions from industry professionals and then letting them know that you’ve included their opinion with a link can get great results, particularly if you get a few big names to get involved.

Even if they only decide to Tweet your post or share it on LinkedIn, this will at least get you some decent exposure and hopefully attract new readers to your blog or site. It’s a complicated process and can take time, but done properly, it can give your link profile a big boost.