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A witty picture from bLaugh, an online comic strip about blogging and the blogosphere. I wrote about passive blog marketing a while back and bLaugh is a classic example of how promoting your website can be easily achievable with minimal and near zero effort.
Their strategy for generating buzz and inward links is rather simple two-step process: Offer fresh, attractive and easily digestible content. In this case, bLaugh uses a comic strip that is regularly updated and easily accessible to all visitors who are even remotely familiar with internet and blogging.
Secondly,make it easy for others to link to you. Below every comic panel is a linkbox which allows any reader to simply copy and paste the picture onto their blog. Included in the html, is of course a link back to the original page on bLaugh’s website.
The whole process becomes viral after that: readers of blogs displaying the comic strip will be led to bLaugh’s website and into their archives of comic strips. Most likely, the reader will copy n paste another image on their website and the contagious process spreads wider and wider without any additional effort from bLaugh.
No active traffic and link exchange is involved, as readers are induced towards linking back due to the requirement to reference the original artist or website. By controlling the distribution process with a linkbox and embedded link, bLaugh can consistently receive lots of continuous traffic and incoming links with a minimal amount of work.
Enter the FreeBait: What Goes Around, Comes Around.
This process is similar to linkbaiting, the fastest way to get enormous amounts of traffic and high quality links through a extremely popular article or blog post. However readers aren’t obligated to link to your website, and they will most likely only do so if your specific article is interesting to them.
The subjectivity of this process and the enormous amount of linkbaits flowing around on social networks and blogs makes it extremely difficult to guarantee success.
A relatively simple solution is at hand:
- Publicly offer a freebie that is only available from your website.
- Control the distribution process to include a highly recommended or compulsory linkback or signup.
This process can be possibly be called “Freebaiting” (for want of a better word) and the specific content or media distributed can be aptly called “Freebait“. Examples of very effective freebait are free Wordpress plugins, Ebooks, graphic icons, blog templates and open-source software.
By setting up your website as an authority and as the definitive source of the freebait ensures that webmasters will reference your website and direct their readers to ‘the source’. CASE STUDY: CHRIS PEARSON, CUTLINE AND TUBETORIAL
1. Establishing the Freebait: Credibility and Marketing
Chris Pearson is in my opinion, the perfect example of a web guru/designer who has mastered the art of freebaiting. As most of you probably know, he’s the creator for Cutline, an extremely popular free Wordpress template. Pearson runs a demo website on the Cutline theme, which also serves as a free support center for all troubleshooting and upgrading matters.
Apart from this, he often plugs Cutline in his personal blog posts, which all generates positive PR and buzz for the theme. His interactive support with the theme users through the Cutline homepage also makes it the perfect source to reference for all matters concerning the theme.
This generates credibility and trust for Cutline, while creating a semi-monopoly over matters such as distribution or troubleshooting. All in all, this has established Cutline as a very strong Freebait for Pearson.
2. Using a Freebait for Traffic and Link Building
Pearson is also the former co-owner of Tubetorial, a website that offers free online marketing videos. How did he increase the search engine ranking and Page Rank for this relatively new website? Through using Cutline as a freebait for hundreds and thousands of incoming links. For example, Tubetorial is currently a PR 6 website and according to Yahoo Site Explorer has 138, 560 incoming links.
Take a look at the first 40 links on the first page, you’ll notice that almost 99% of the links come from websites using the Cutline template. If you’ve clicked on any of them, run your eyes down the page and you’ll notice a link to Tubetorial in the footer.
When it comes to Wordpress templates, credit for template designers are usually listed in the sidebar and it is against distribution or copyright regulations to remove a credit for a design you did not create or purchase.
This distribution policy ensures that the designer will get due acknowledgment for their work while concurrently increasing their web exposure and profile. Basically, Pearson has distributed Cutline as a free product which requires compulsory credit links. He directed these links towards his secondary business or website, which is Tubetorial. Very ingenious.
This works because a linkback is made compulsory through creative copyright control of the freebait’s distribution. This method is of course, a staple of both professional and amateur web or software designers.
Here are some more examples of freebaiting methods:
- Website templates - This guarantees incoming links and web traffic and is one of the best ways to boost a site’s popularity and ranking.
- Blog tools/plugins/widgets/hacks - Excellent way to be referenced. Need to offer a definitive download source and consistent support.
- Free Software - Software with limited trial versions are classic freebait used to build eventual sales.
- Ebooks & Email Courses - Frequently used by affiliate marketers to give an extra bonus to a product they are promoting. Always direct readers back to your main website or landing page.
- Directories - Site owners can offer free reciprocal submission for blogs and websites. Direct the reciprocal link to another website you want to push.
- Advice as Freebait - An example of a well populated forum that dishes out free tech advice is GeekstoGo.com
- Reviews as Freebait - An example: Bloggy Award offers free reviews of blogs in return for a reciprocal link.
- Images - Promote your photos via Flickr and other social image sites, get referenced if you’re lucky.
- Video Freebait - Distributing original and high quality videos on sites like YouTube can get you enormous amounts of daily traffic. Hook visitors and links by making certain videos only available from your website.
- Contest as Freebait - Give away stuff you have in your closet or offer an attractive cash prize to create buzz (and hopefully inward links).
- DoFollow as Freebait - Give blog readers a chance to get some PageRank benefits through commenting on your blog by removing the NoFollow attribute. This very likely will increase the number of people who comment on your blog posts. Andy Beard is a particularly strong exponent of sharing link juice with readers who comment on his blog.
I feel that the most important thing for effective freebaiting comes down to promotion and distribution control. Freebaits that are well publicized and highly recommended tend to receive more prominence and credibility in the eyes of the public.
You’ll also need to make your blog or website the definitive and authoritative source of all information and support for the offered freebait.
This ensures that visitors will continue to visit or reference your website when it comes to all matters concerning the product/service offered. Remember that freebaits often spread like wildfire through word-of-mouth promotion so you’ll have to get everything prepared and perfect before you start freebaiting for links and traffic.
What are your thoughts on freebaiting? Have you tried it & does it work for you? Feel free to leave a comment.
Article Source: http://doshdosh.com