Hook, Line, and Sinker

Nick talks about blog snobs in a recent post. As I learned a few days ago, there’s more than one type of snob on the Internet, and no matter what you do, they’re always right. So to really f**k’em up, I praise them for criticizing me, in the most honest way possible. (I’m not going to be more specific.) Am I crazy? Yes. But, well, how can anyone argue with you if you agree with them? It’d take a real nut job to do that.

Another thing that I’ve learned, as both Nick and Chris have said, is that there’s a real skill involved in writing linkbait or comment-bait. And I don’t have it. Cranky periods aside, I don’t particularly enjoy reading or writing those types of post. Reading them cranks me up (which is what a linkbaiter wants, of course). Writing them makes me feel like an arsehole. And you not only have to have thick skin, you have to know whether or not to continue any discussion that ensues.

I don’t know if it’s the screaming blue meanies of February, but I’ve recently engaged in several attempts to comment-bait, with relatively miserable results. (But it was pretty much my first time.) One attempt was here at Performancing, and generated more comments than for any of my previous posts – just not enough to have made the exercise worthwhile, considering I don’t plan to keep doing this.

But when it came down to it, I didn’t know whether to stir the flames more, or let it go. In fact, I’ll be honest. I didn’t even know how to stir the flames without really cranking up the heat. Which all leads me the conscious realization that I am for the most part an informational blogger. While I can intentionally include small hooks in my posts, linkbaiting just doesn’t work for me. I’m not saying that I’m not an opinionated SOB, that I haven’t engaged in live debates and wiped the floor with someone’s arse, but I just don’t currently have the skills for linkbait blogging.

15 thoughts on “Hook, Line, and Sinker

  1. Hmmm. Well, that wasn’t my original plan. But I actually finished the piece, then came up with the title. So maybe

  2. You seem to have generated a lot of comments on this post. It doesn’t seem that you have a problem with comment-bait.

    Or, was that your plan all along?

    I would love to get into debates, but with four kids, I’ve resorted my blogs to being “fluff”. Mostly for friends and family to see.

  3. Okay, I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment. Yes, we all want traffic. But there is a point beyond which it is counterproductive to engage people. The world is nasty enough. Deliberate attempts to produce flame wars and heat just make the world a worse place. It’s bad enough that we have all these miserable talk radio shows and reality crap without egging people on ourselves.

    Which is not to say that anyone here is advocating that. I’m just saying.

  4. Agreed Linkbait and comment-bait is more than just attacking. And there’s also traffic-bait, which is more subtle.

    For example, I get more traffic when I talk about one specific blogging platform than for any other topic that I’ve written about. Why? I’m guessing, but it’s because such posts are more helpful to the majority of (aspiring) probloggers than anything else? But since I like breadth of topics, I only throw in the topic once in a while.

    And as Graywolf says, we can get better at.

  5. It’s anything that naturally attracts attention. Creating cool stuff that benefits other people is usually the best route around.

  6. Not everyone has what it takes to a master at link baiting, but everyone can get better at it.

  7. However, just asking isn’t sufficient if you don’t have the traffic. And sometimes having traffic but not getting comments may suggest you’re either asking the wrong questions or doing something else that’s possibly objectionable.

  8. As I said in the comments post Raj links to above, one of the best ways is to ask for comments but also make it “comfortable” and welcoming for visitors to do – it can be daunting for new visitors as sometimes it feels like interupting a private conversation

  9. I’m also interested in what gets more than your regular 5 people posting comments on your website (except spammers of course)

  10. Nicks post that Raj linked already mentions those, and you are right, but there is still heat when bloggers call you out on linkbait. Everyone does linkbait to a greater or lesser degree but there are still a lot of people who don’t link it when others do it, heh.

  11. I recently read a great article on link baiting over at Stuntdubl http://www.stuntdubl.com/2006/02/13/linkbait-2/

    In summary the article mentions the following methods of link-baiting.

    * News hook
    * Contrary Hook
    * Attack Hook
    * Resource Hook
    * Humour Hook

    So you don’t have to rely on being nasty for link baiting. The article says it alot better than I ever could, so go read it.

  12. I have no talent for linkbait, or for dealing with the heated discussion that is sometimes brought about. Some people, like Nick or Andy, are naturals at this stuff, the rest of us need to learn or try alternative tactics. Me, I stick to my trusty but rusty “top 10” formula that Nick loves to hate, heh.

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