Creating a great asset—be it a blog post, a web tool, or an infographic—is first about developing a value-added resource for your audience. It should always start with your existing audience.
The things that make any asset into a linkable asset are the things that you should be practicing with all of your content. Some of the most linkable things weren’t created for that purpose. They were just good.
To give your audience the best possible content experience, your assets should look beautiful, offer unique insights, be exciting, provide beneficial value, and fan your audience’s ego.
To best develop a truly linkable asset, make sure it has these must-have characteristics.
It’s Got Visual Appeal
Humans are visual creatures. Pairing blog posts with images that reflect the ideas within can help drive home your meaning. Research has shown that the human brain processes visual content faster than text alone. Even more, it can get people to click through in the first place.
Articles with images enjoy 94% more views than those without, according to Jeff Bullas. That’s reason enough to start investing in great stock photos (or else just find them for free).
And, of course, the supremely linkable infographic is full-on visual-driven information bomb. Infographics are such amazing linkable assets because of their unique ability to be shared in full on someone else’s site. For more help on how to create / market these assets, see this list of infographic tools, or consider investing in illustration software.
An Exciting Headline
Headlines are the do-or-die moment for a post. There is so much content out there, so why should I click? And if they never click, they never link.
This is why no matter how compelling your content is, your headline better be good or it’s all for naught. There are many ways of going about writing a great headline. From Hubspot to Neil Patel to Backlinko, you’ll find a lot of ideas.
Central to all of them—the inference that what lies within is valuable while not giving away the secrets. List articles do this well, exclaiming that just on the other side of this click are “17 Amazing Email Templates That Turn Leads Into Customers”. Whoever is sharing this link knows that their visitors will get value out of it.
Provides a Solution or Answer
That value that your headline teases will inevitably need to be provided in the content. Because, if not, you’d be lying. Nobody wants to link to a lie.
Tools and calculators are amazing linkable assets because they provide a clear and demonstrable benefit to the user. For example, I love to ferment vegetables. To make the brine right, you have to figure out how many grams of water to use per gallon of water. So, time after time, I find a particular salinity calculator online (which I should really bookmark) and I can be certain that my final product is perfect.
Or, if you are trying to find the best way to brew in a French press, there is a truly comprehensive (and visual) guide out there for you. The reason that guides, best-ofs, data-rich infographics, and web tools are able to build backlinks so well is that they contain definitive answers to burning questions.
Relates to a Frequently Debated Topic
Creating a highly valuable asset is one thing. But for it to be linked from various sources, it needs to pertain to a topic that gets debated frequently.
For example, let’s say you own an eCommerce store selling T-shirts. Unless your products are one of a kind, they’re probably not interesting enough to be linked from other websites. However, blog posts on topics like what fabric works best on a T-shirt, or what kind of T-shirts are appropriate in a business setting are great since these are topics that are commonly discussed.
A good tip is to check Quora for the most popular questions in your industry and then create top quality content that answers these questions.
Delivers an Ego Boost
There is nothing that people love more than a good fanning of their ego. That’s just human nature.
To build links from particular sites, talk about them in your post. Whatever your industry, there are people or companies to lavish praise upon. Some examples of ego bait are awards posts, blog round-ups, directories, and interviews.
Say you are a dog groomer. If someone wrote a post featuring you amongst the top dog groomers in the US, chances are good that you’d link to that post and share it around. Everyone must know that you are great at what you do.
Same goes for posts that certain people have been quoted in, or a round-up including a company’s great informative articles. The final step to make that post into Ego Bait is then reaching out to those people you’ve flattered informing them of their inclusion and asking that they share and link to it.
Comes From a Unique Perspective
When someone links to your post or infographic, they do it because you are offering something different than usual.
There are so many articles, tools, calculators, and infographics out there, so why choose yours? On any particular topic, there are a ton of resources treading the same old ground.
When you create your asset, you want to make it unique. Look at what others have done and mix it up. Add more value than the best one you can find. Be funnier, more thoughtful, more engaging. Find interesting data that supports your unique insights.
Make it clear why they should read, share, and link to your asset. You are not a robot just regurgitating the same old thing that everyone else has already done. A human with unique thoughts created that asset and it’s worth linking to.
Link building isn’t a simple pursuit. But, it is all the easier if you have great content to build links to. When done well, your content can start gaining its own steam, with the initial links driving more and more links. The best advice, as always, is to create great content. “If you build it, they will come.”