Ego Bait: 5 Simple Ways to Leverage Blog Mentions

Share This
Andy Crestodina

Link bait, share bait, click bait. These are all names for tactics designed to get a specific action from readers. Ego bait is the most common and easy to use. Here’s the what, why, and how of targeted blog mentions.

Ego Bait – noun /ˈēgō bāt/

A web marketing tactic involving mentioning a person in a positive way in a blog post or other content with the intention of having that person promote the post, typically by sharing it through social media.

The benefits? If they take the bait, here’s what happens…

  • They shared… social media traffic from a wider audience

  • They linked… Search engine rankings and traffic

  • You kept in touch… It’s great networking!

The ideal target is a blogger with an active social network and is relevant to your audience. Avoid online celebrities since you’re unlikely to get their attention (their egos are well fed). To find people use the same approach that you would use for targeted social sharing.

Hook, Line …and Mention

Once the post is live, it’s time to let them know about it. The most common way to do this is to share it on a social network and mention them. Better yet, share it on several networks and mention them each time. At very least, share on the social network where you’re hoping they’ll share.

A more aggressive approach is to send a polite email with the link, suggesting that they share or link. Including a call to action (as in, a nudge) in the email may get a better response.

Here are five types of ego bait. Some of these are about more than promoting the content, they’re about creating the content through collaboration. Even better.

1. The Simple Mention

It could be a simple quote, a link, an embedded tweet, citation, or even a photo credit. Any positive reference to a person can work. Smaller is easier, but If the mention is a big part of the post, it’s more likely to appeal to the ego and get a response.

You might already be mentioning people in posts, but not sharing the post with them. Of course, it won’t work as bait unless you bring it to their attention.

2. The Roundup List

  • EXAMPLE: Once at a conference, I had everyone sign my “yearbook” and then later turned it into a blog post. Many of the 160 signers shared it! How to Meet Everyone at an Event.

3. The Solo Interview

Speaking of egos, few people will decline an interview. And interviewees are almost always going to share the piece with their social networks. Interviewing an expert is a fast way to produce high-quality content in a conversational tone.

Just reach out, get permission to email a list of questions and you’re ready to copy and paste the response into your next post.

4. The Combo Interview

Instead of emailing one person five questions, email several people five questions. Now the readers can compare different perspectives (better quality) …and you’ve got a lot more ego bait (better traffic).

  • EXAMPLE: I wrote an occasional series for Social Media Explorer called 6 Questions. Each post interviewers with half a dozen people within a specific job role: community managers, blog editors, etc.  The Secret to Great Podcast Interviews

5. The Roundup of Roundups

Here’s a very clever way to add ego bait to your next list post. Regardless of the type of list, (tools, tips, books, websites, blog posts, anything) you can curate a curated list. Here’s how.

Rather than creating the roundup list of items yourself, email a group of select people, asking each to contribute one item. The items they send become the list, but the senders name and comments are right there with it.

Everyone Has an Ego

Even if the person knows what you’re up to, they may take it hook, line and sinker. Who doesn’t like to be mentioned in a positive way? Personally, I’m a sucker for ego bait. Like most people, I’m happy share any post that mentions me.

Don’t be afraid to go big. Create a series of interviews or the quarterly roundup for your industry.  And ego bait also works with groups. A positive review of a product is likely to be shared by the brand, an event recap may be shared by the organizers.

Whatever the approach, don’t be pushy and don’t be ingratiating. No one likes a kiss ass! Just be direct, considerate, and positive.

Share This

What are your thoughts?

By signing up you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Comments (10)
  • Nice article Andy. I’ve always been a proponent of finding ego bait opportunities. It doesn’t matter that it’s obvious (which it often is). I’ve been “ego baited” several time in the past, and guess what? I usually end up sharing/linking to the content. We all want to be flattered.

  • This does work.

    I once made a “word cloud” using words from the blog of the famous Web Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik.

    Using Zazzle, I put this word cloud on a coffee mug.

    Then I simply made a post, saying people could have an Avinash Tag Could Mug!

    Avinash must have a Google Alert for his name set up, because in less than 24 hours he put out a Tweet about the coffee mug saying everyone should have one.

    That guy has a LOT of devoted Twitter followers. People clicked the link in his Tweet, visited my site, and many bought the mug.

    I think you are right: The ideal target is a blogger in your niche with an active social following.

    Another attribute of the ideal target might be: Their Name or Company Name is unique – because that makes it more likely they will have a Google Alert set up for their name or company name.

    I once went on a job interview. That night, I wrote an article and mentioned the name of the company where I interviewed in an example. When I went for the call back interview, the CEO had already read my new blog post because it mentioned his company. He had an email alert for his company name.

    I like the idea that emailing them is a last resort. It’s so much better if they find it on their own.

    – Greg, San Francisco

    • Smart! Reading your comment, it makes me realize the value of letting them find the content. The more aggressive you push it toward them, the more overt it feels as a marketing tactic. Emailing is pretty blunt. A mention in a tweet is not as pushy. And letting them come across it themselves via a Google Alert is ideal if they see it!

      Personally, I watch the “trackbacks” report in Analytics, so I often notice mentions of me quickly. When I share them, people sometimes ask “how did you find that so fast?” I know Moz has a brand mentions tool that also works well…

      The word cloud / mug idea is fantastic. Great stuff, Greg. Thanks for the contribution!

  • I could probably do more of this—notifying people when I link to their work. It’s a little tricky, I think, depending on the relationship you have with them, whether they know or have heard of you, the different “tiers” you’re on, etc. It’s hard not to let your self interest show through.

  • I don’t think we’re suckers for falling for this. We’re humans. We all want a little recognition from time to time. It keeps you motivated!

    I really enjoyed this one, Rog! 🙂

  • Helpful as always! Now looking for my next ego to bait…

  • Good article Andy and I agree we’re all suckers for a bit of online love!

    • We all fall for it all the time…

  • Great post!

    Would holding a Google Hangout and sharing links to blogs and/or websites be considered Ego Bait? What about transcribing the Google Hangout and turning it into a blog post?

    • Hi there, Amandah! The Google Hangout itself isn’t really bait, since you’re really just sharing links. But if you transcribed it and mentioned them on your blog (and then brought it to their attention) they would probably share it.
      …I would!

Join over 16,000 people who receive web marketing tips every two weeks.

By signing up you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Share This