Link Building Tip: Make More Fools Days

TL;DR: Pick a few months and spend at least as much time as companies like Clorox and Google spent on April Fools Day 2012 to create ideas to get your customer's attention. Funny or not, act on those ideas and build them to create links!

April Fools Stock PhotoThe two hardest parts of link building are content creation and relationship development. Coming up with that awesome idea and finding people that are willing to link and/or share it are the biggest challenges for most companies trying to build their presence on the web.

Videos? What do we make it about? We don't have a studio! No one will watch it. 

Product Development? We don't know what people want, our product already does everything. Maybe keyword research will help?

We have companies come to us every month with the same questions, "How do we get people's attention and get links?" The answer is simply: Think outside of the box. Know your customer. Provide a product or service that is THAT much better than your competitors.

Between you and me, most of the time, it's not about making the product/service better. That takes time and development in the company (you should do it first if you are in-house). As marketers, we just think about how to get people to talk about the business. Truthfully, it's like pulling teeth to get good ideas for link bait, even at Distilled sometimes.

And then comes April Fools Day. The day ordained for jokes. Christmas for link builders. Every company that has some imagination and time comes up with a joke to pull on the world. Google has become the de facto champion of April Fools Day. Starting with MentalPlex in 2000, they are always there with something to make us giggle on April 1. They aren't the only company though. Take a look at some of the awesome link bait made for one day this year:

Why save these for the same day as everyone else? Don't get me wrong, some of these can't be taken out of April Fools context (the child free cabins), but think about the impact they make! A good example is the Let's Go Oregon Trail Guide. That is a link bait resource that can be used any time of the year.

Next one is from Kodak: I have not heard from Kodak in years (well that might be a stretch) but all of a sudden they have a page about printing kittens! Shareable! And it can be anything from a press release (Angry Birds Meetings from WebEx) to a video. This one is from Honda, and I think could be used outside of April Fools Day.

So what I want you to do this year is pick three other months. Spend the same amount of time on those months developing creative content as you did on April Fools. Give them a name and get creative! Oh, and here are some tips for April Fools, June Joker, and September Silliness:

  1. Don't go all out on the jokes, people might not GET the joke when it's not in April. The key here is to come up with ideas that are shareable. They can be humorous (or not), just maybe not the kind that will get you in trouble.
  2. Give the page a static, sharable URL on your main domain. For Let's Go, this is the start URL, the only one I could find.
  3. If you develop a video, same thing, give it a page and embed the video, even if you use YouTube.
  4. Think of a product or service to sponsor from this promotion, link to that page from the promotion page. For Honda, I would have linked to that car's page. 
  5. Don't take the page down the day after. Jetsetter, I'm looking at you.
  6. If you must remove it (don't), keep the page up and a call to action.
  7. Pay attention to feedback. If something you came up with as a product feature was well received ... try to make it happen!
  8. Submit to April Fools Lists.
My last tip is for those of you that read to the end. See #8? That gives you a nice list of companies that are willing to think outside of the box. Some of them are links to news organizations that were willing to post these stories. Now go make relationships. The companies, the journalists. There is a list right there. Go for it.

What would you name the different months?

April Fools Stock Photos via Shutterstock

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