It’s easy to create linkbait. You pick a topic that people will be interested in, research it using google.com or google.co.uk and write it out or design it or whatever.
Of course, it only works that easily if you speak the same language as your audience.
So what happens if a client comes to you, wanting linkbait that will grab attention in its neck of the woods, and its neck of the woods is, say, Eastern Europe? What then, huh?
Well, luckily for you (and some of my clients), I have a way of figuring out what to do.
To demonstrate how to create linkbait for other cultures, I am going to arbitrarily say we’re dealing with an international restaurant review website that wants to get lots of traffic from Eastern Europe.
Now, we need to create linkbait that is relevant to our client’s target audience, so let’s go for ‘food’, as that is what most restaurants serve and our client ought to be an expert in that area.
Research the area
If you are targeting a particular area, like Eastern Europe, you need to find out which countries have the most internet activity.
If we search ‘internet usage in eastern europe’, limited by Published in the Past Year, we find this internet usage in Europe stat.
This super-useful stat show Poland has 8th largest number of internet users in Europe (around 20 million) and the largest number in Eastern Europe, so let’s target the Polish audience.
Then you should research (that is, read the Wikipedia page for) the country, so you can be a tiny bit familiar with the basic facts – population, geography, history, that sort of thing. It might not play a direct part in the creation of linkbait, but knowing a bit about the people you are talking to will only help you figure out your content, presentation and tone.
Research the topic
First we need to translate ‘food’, since we’ll be doing a country-specific search.
Type ‘food’ into Google Translate, and we can see that ‘food’ in Polish = żywność.
Now we do a Google search for the target term, which results in this:
Now we right click on the results to use the Google Global Firefox extension (which you can download here):
Make sure it’s searching blogs.
This is pretty simple, since most languages have adopted the word ‘blog’. Just click the triangle, and then select the word that looks like ‘blog’.
Go through all the top results with Google Translate.
I always have to copy the URL and paste it into Translate in another tab because it doesn't give you the 'Translate this page option', but it still works.
Try to categorise the posts by topic, style of post, tone, etc. to find what will work for your client.
In this case, we had:
- Food in the news:
- Discussing govt policies for preventing Polish food being sold into the black market
- Announcing charity food drive for Caritas (didn’t make sense)
- Discussing Michelle Obama’s move to defeat childhood obesity in the States
- Link to an article about fast food in America
- Just about food
- Talked about an organic store
- Vegan blog
- Discussing popcorn as a healthy snack
- Food-related other
- Dog blog talking about dog food
- A broken link
Do some digging if anything you don’t understand pops up.
For example, the post announcing the charity food drive for Caritas didn’t make sense in Google Translate's English.
Because 1) I had never heard of Caritas; 2) Caritas was the same word in the original and in the translation; and 3) Caritas is clearly a proper noun, I did a quick English-lanuguage search for ‘Caritas’. The home page of the charity states that it does food drives to help feed impoverished people.
A further search for ‘pead polish’ (a search for ‘pead’ was too generic) reveals the PEAD plan supplies “food from intervention stocks for the benefit of the most deprived people” in Poland.
So this obviously is a charitable food drive organised by Caritas for the PEAD programme.
This won’t ultimately play a part in the linkbait, but we learned something, and learning is its own reward, right?
Writing the post
We can see that the top blogs which talk exclusively about food are related to health: organic shops, vegan diets and healthy snacks are all covered.
The articles also take care to explain what the different diets are, suggesting people are only just now starting to get into these types of lifestyles.
That means there are probably plenty of people in Poland who are interested in healthier diets, but they don’t know how to get started. And in a consumerist society, the place to get started is wherever you can buy stuff, like shops and restaurants.
So we should find some health-related retailers and restaurants in Poland. But let’s narrow it down further. Generally speaking, city dwellers adopt trends more quickly than their country-dwelling counterparts do. And bigger cities provide bigger target markets.
So we should target the biggest city in Poland. Which, thanks to our previous research into the country, we know is Warsaw – it is both the capital and the most populous city in Poland.
Now we want to create a list of health shops and restaurants in Warsaw.
Assuming the client is happy for us to write the post, we simply search for related topics like ‘vegetarian restaurants warsaw’, or even ‘ekologicznych sklepów w warszawie’. This is a non-exhaustive list of what I found:
All these sites can be translated into English, and then all you have to do is read their descriptions, try to find some reviews and write a short paragraph about what they sell. You can also do an advanced image search for images of the places, labelled for reuse under the Creative Commons license, obviously.
Finally, make sure to finish it in time for it to be translated, if needs be. Try to give as thorough a brief as possible to the translator. They will need to know if you want a word-for-word translation, which would be fine for an information-dense piece, or if you are trying to convey a particular tone.
After all, jokes, idioms and proverbs might not make sense when translated verbatim.
So that’s how I create linkbait for cultures that are not familiar to me. I’m by no means the master of this type of thing, though, so if you have any tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them!
UPDATE: I didn't add photo credits! My apologies to the owners of the photos.
Woman with massive sandwich by Randy Son of Robert on Flickr
Confused monkey by Michael Keen on Flickr
On graph: Black market by People of Africa on Picasa
On graph: Caritas logo by Caritas
On graph: Chubby child by Rrrrred on Flickr
On graph: Fries by freefoto.com on Flickr
On graph: Organic label by Leo Reynolds on Flickr
On graph: Hemp milk by size8jeans on Flickr
On graph: Popcorn by *Micky on Flickr
On graph: Dog food by MShades on Flickr
Women shopping by maalie on Flickr
Gratuitous shot of Warsaw by Pawel Kabanski on Flickr
Hooptie of awesomeness by an0nym0n0us on Flickr