A copy of our subscriber newsletter from April 2014.
It was about 7am and my alarm went off, loading the local news radio channel. I was trying to hide from the sound under the blankets when I realized that they were talking about my linkbait! How did I pull that off? Read on for a special thankyou gift we're sending IMN newsletter subscribers - a case study/story about a surprisingly affordable linkbait piece I did, and how you can use this tactic.
A few years ago, Facebook had a cool product for running surveys. Ask a question, provide multiple choice answers, and you'd pay between $0.25 and $1 per response, depending how quickly you wanted the answers.
Being that I was already involved in internet marketing at the time, and wanted to get known for Facebook expertise, I decided to conduct some research on Facebook's users. Everyone knows that original research gets links. It's remarkable by definition. So I decided to create my own Facebook survey, spend some money and see what I'd find out.
...I asked people whether they'd ever taken pictures of themselves in the nude.
Keep in mind that this was 2008, before word had spread that teens were sending sexual text messages (and image messages) to each other. So there was novelty to the question, which of course is essential. Boring research doesn't get links, even if it's original.
30% of my 500 respondents said that they had taken such pictures! And this is before smartphones really went mainstream. Imagine things nowadays!
(Note that I wouldn't ask such a question nowadays, knowing that so many people are addicted to r-rated content (link is safe for work, goes to Quora) and that this sort of content can trigger their addiction.)
But I digress.
Once I collected the information, I reached out to a journalist I'd become friendly with. He'd been kind enough to cover me previously in Quebec's main French daily, La Presse, and also wrote a for a French-language publication covering digital news. Think Quebec's Techcrunch.
I offered him the exclusive scoop, along with charts he could share. Facebook's survey product came with nicely charted results broken down by age, gender and other demographics :D, so it didn't require any extra work.
He got a lot of traffic for his publication, I got sweet links and further traffic and links from others. And the radio covered me the next morning.
When Facebook took away this survey product, I weeped a little at the lost ability to create linkbait nearly at will, and on a tight budget.
Fortunately, others have filled the void. Ask Your Target Market, SurveyMonkey Audience and Google Consumer Surveys offer access to panels of tens of millions or access to the audiences of the web's biggest publishers. You can get a census-representative audience or a niche audience targeted by demographics or industry. And they're cheap, cheap, cheap. If you want deep research, Ask Your Target Market will give you questions for $0.95 each. If you just need one question from the general public, Google will get you answers for $0.10 a pop! That's 1000 responses for $100! Woohoo :D
If you have any questions, please let me know. Otherwise, go forth and research!
Tl;dr version: I got press by surveying 500 people and giving a journalist the exclusive scoop plus fancy charts. You can use the tools linked above to do the same. Asking one question of 1000 people will cost you $100 with Google's tool.
Here's to your success,
Gab Goldenberg, one of Jim's Internet Marketing Ninjas
p.s. These are also great tools for learning about target audiences, building personas and so on.