Blogging Is the New Viral Marketing

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Blogging is not just about rambling personal journals and politics any longer. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are finding that business blogging allows for no-cost to low-cost promotion on the Internet, with sometimes spectacular results. The secret is link baiting.

If someone offered you link bait, would you bite?

No, this isn’t a fish tale. And this type of bait isn’t a worm — it’s more like a virus.

“Link baiting” is a rather inelegant term for publishing content on a blog that is so newsworthy, interesting, funny, or shocking that other bloggers and publishers link to it en masse, causing that particular blog post to spread virally all over the Internet. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have figured out that creating this type of content is more valuable than advertising. And it’s free.

Welcome to the 21st Century publicity stunt.

When venture capitalist Tim Draper coined the term “viral marketing” in 1998, he was referring to how a free web-based service could spread from person to person due to the simple use of the application. That service was Hotmail, the free advertising-supported email program that encouraged others to get their own Hotmail account with every email that was sent.

Although it was a well-funded start-up company, Hotmail grew faster by viral marketing than it could have by advertising, as its competitors learned the hard way. Business bloggers are finding they can get the same viral marketing benefits with words alone.

The promotional possibilities of “viral blogging” have made web copywriting a hot topic. Copywriting, a technique from advertising, public relations and direct marketing circles, is the art and science of creating written content that captures attention and persuades people to take action. That action could be an online purchase, an information request, or a link.

“Copywriting is the foundation of all good online marketing, sales and publicity,” says business blogger Brian Clark. “It’s become one of the most financially lucrative skills an entrepreneur can possess.”

Clark runs Copyblogger, a blog that teaches how to sell with blogs, email and RSS web feeds. And since you can’t sell to an empty room, Clark recently released a free report that shows how to use viral marketing to get prospects for your business. Called Viral Copy: Trading Words for Traffic, the report is a 30-page PDF download that demonstrates eleven strategies for creating content that gets links and attention for business bloggers.

Even beyond the direct traffic that links bring, viral blogging is a way to rank higher in the search engines, thanks to the importance those links are given by Google, Yahoo and MSN. Many search engine optimization (“SEO”) firms are getting into the practice, but Clark encourages people to learn how to handle blog promotion themselves.

“One of the most effective ways to get publicity links is to simply offer something of value,” says Clark. “Tutorials and free resources always seem to get attention.”

Like a free link baiting report?

“The irony was not lost on many of my savvy fellow bloggers,” Clark wryly commented. “But they still linked to me anyway, and Viral Copy is spreading quite nicely.”


Brian Clark


214-292-9487 (fax)

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