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'Tis The Season For Link Baiting

Ah, the holidays! It’s that time of year — for egg nog, carolers, sleigh rides, Yuletide cheer, roasting chestnuts, and… link bait!

Yes, you heard right. The holidays are a great time to launch link bait campaigns, because you can piggy-back on the popularity of the holiday and of peoples’ enthusiasm for it. That doesn’t just apply to Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/etc. but also key holidays throughout the year, such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Independence Day, and Halloween. In general, seasonal link baiting makes a lot of sense.

Now let me chronicle for you one of my absolute favorite holiday-themed link bait campaigns, the The Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar from the coaching directory Noomii.com. (Disclosure: Noomii is a client of mine.)

This last minute linkbait campaign idea evolved out of several link bait brainstorming sessions we had. The advent calendar idea itself was hatched on November 30. Now, that’s about as last minute as you can get — Advent started the following day! Talk about JIT (“Just In Time”). Everyone at Noomii sprung into action, even a couple of folks did an all-nighter (OMG those are absolutely awful!) to make the launch date of December 1st.

Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

The idea behind the campaign was simple: unlike most advent calendars which give you a small gift each day leading up to Christmas (such as a toy or candy), this one asks you to perform a daily act of kindness for someone else. The daily acts are quirky and light, and include such tasks as “Be a Secret Santa”, “Give out Five Complements”, and even an indulgent Sunday task entitled “Be Kind to Yourself”.

Noomii did a lot of things right with this campaign in a limited amount of time. For one, the site was built with off-the-shelf tools (WordPress and various free plugins), which means the creators didn’t need to spend a lot of time or money getting it up and running.

The concept is simple and easy to “get” right away. Someone stumbling upon the site will instantly understand the what it’s all about without the need to read the “About” section (the button for which, incidentally, is cleverly labeled “WTF?”, for “What the Fruitcake?”).

The user interface is clean and simple: the home page consists of 25 clickable links superimposed on an image of a typical Christmas scene (that is, if you consider penguins putting up Christmas lights “typical”).

Viral and social elements include the standard social sharing links, a simple email subscription feature, and community forums for sharing stories of daily acts of kindness with other users.

A subtle but clever viral element is the fact that most of the acts of kindness require the user to do something for someone else – often several people. No doubt the creators are hoping the unsuspecting recipients of these acts will do good onto the world and inquire about their origins.

If there had been more time, Noomii would have done an iPhone/iPad/Android app and/or Facebook app. Ah well, next year!

Here are some other notable link bait campaigns I’ve come across this holiday season:

So what are your favorite holiday-themed link bait campaigns? Talk back in the comments!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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