Note: This post was first written for Halloween 2011 and published at HoodWebManagement.com, but the beauty of holiday-themed content is that it’s evergreen, this post included! We migrated it here in 2013.
Halloween is obviously a creative time of year for costumes and pranks, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be a creative time of year for linkbait. Americans get into the halloween spirit to the tune of $8.4 billion dollars spent on costumes, candy, and decorations in 2016. Here’s 8 great examples of Halloween linkbait, and hopefully some inspiration for your own Halloween link building. Don’t forget to check out the key takeaways at the end of the post!
Axes of Evil
Here’s a great way to get links out of a demographic that normally wouldn’t spend much time linking to Halloween content (statistics geeks). So far I only see links from BoingBoing and a few smaller blogs, but I imagine it will keep earning links it makes its way around the internet. Axes of Evil Comic:
Pumpkin Giving Birth:
Posted to Facebook by Blessed Birth Doula Services from Savannah, GA. Unfortunately someone else got the strong link from ComedyCentral.com via the Tosh.0 blog. A great example of linkworthy content in a business that a less creative link builder might think was difficult to build links to, now someone needs to follow up on mentions without a link.
Pumpkin Giving Birth by Blessed Birth Doula Services
Link Building Tip: If you can’t think of a way to turn a jack-o-lantern into your product, you’re not trying hard enough!
Halloween or Williamsburg
Continuing the “blank or blank” tumblr trend, Halloween or Williamsburg managed to get links from Kottke, The Daily Beast, and plenty of other domains. This doesn’t seem like a long term project to me, but a good concept with good execution will get enough links in the short term to justify creating it. This is content that can be built upon throughout the year and re-promoted every Halloween.
On a sidenote, I think the Williamsburg reference is too obscure, I would have titled it Halloween or Hipster to avoid losing potential traffic. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where we have plenty of hipsters, but I didn’t immediately catch the Williamsburg, Brooklyn reference (a hipster hotbed in NYC, apparently), so I imagine there’s a lot more people like me who will skip over this due to poor choice of name.
Takeaway: If your linkbait has universal appeal (like laughing at funny hipster outfits), don’t segment yourself into obscurity with a localized content title!
Picture courtesy Halloween or Williamsburg
Exploding Pumpkin Experiment (Youtube)
This exploding pumpkin video was uploaded in 2009, but it’s still getting links, going to show that your holiday-based linkbait can be valuable for years to come (if you don’t stick the year in the content title, of course).
Another one picked up by BoingBoing, this one is a direct promotion for some evil crochet work on etsy. A good example of how to promote unique e-commerce products, especially if you’re trying to sell them year round.
I could have any one of the thousands of Halloween costumes or decorations posted on Instructables, but here’s one on making creepy halloween decor. Halloween is a pretty big DIY holiday, so if you can tell people a crafty way to make an awesome costume, they’ll spread the word. You might not have the same search engine traction as Instructables, but you’ve got the power of reddit/digg/twitter behind you if the instructions are good enough.
Halloween SEO Characters
This post is the perfect example of playing the flattery card and catering to a niche. Mitchell at Maple North snagged over 60 tweets and certainly some traffic from his Internet Marketing Halloween Superheroes post, and at least a few links to boot. I think Wilverine probably has the best name and costume:
Jimmy Kimmell: Tell Your Kids You Ate Their Halloween Candy
Another great piece of content – this one may not have been intended for link building, but it certainly worked some marketing magic. Do a search for “Jimmy Kimmel” kids “Halloween candy” right now on Google and you’ll find 222,000 results for this video: (Not bad for a piece of super simple crowd-generated content, huh?)
So, what have we learned from the above examples?
1) Stick To Your Niche:
Halloween (or any holiday) can be applied to anything! Take your niche, and make it halloween-y. It’s easy, watch:
- Wedding niche? Post ideas for a Halloween-themed wedding (or better yet, photograph a halloween wedding)
- Photography niche? Post some awesome creepy Halloween photos and promote the heck out of them. If you’re smart, you’ll also release the photos under a Creative Commons license and make it super easy for people to embed the photos with a link to your site, and get the word out to big time bloggers and encourage them to use your photos as stock photos in their Halloween posts.
- Music niche? Are you in a band? Cover any awesome Halloween song and send it to your mailing list, or better yet, release an entire Halloween-themed video for one of your songs.
OK, so those are easy ones. How about some tougher businesses?
- Construction Company? Build an amazing haunted house in your backyard with scrap lumber (bonus points if it’s built to code). Post the entire process, along with costs, instructions, etc. and distribute the link to woodworking websites, craftsman sites, etc. This, like most linkbait, will work a thousand times better if the haunted house turns out awesome.
- Law Firm? This might be too expensive for other businesses, but if you’ve got a big marketing budget like a law firm, it could be done for a few thousand dollars pretty easily. Build a replica of your website, and have a web designer redo the graphics so it looks like your original website, except “haunted.” I’m thinking cobwebs on the logo, haunted house touches like broken window shutters, darker color scheme, black cats, whatever else you like. Then recreate the content so that it’s focused on Halloween creatures. For example, “dog bite liability cases for werewolves,” or maybe “libel and slander protection for Salem witches,” or “burn victim legal action for Frankenstein.” You get the idea. Get a good domain (I’m guessing Halloween-themed law domains haven’t been snatched up by affiliate marketers yet) and find a creative way to tie-in links to your regular site.
- Plumber? I wouldn’t recommend posting pictures of the most disgusting things you’ve pulled out of clogged drains, though it would fit the bill for Halloween. How about dressing up as Mario & Luigi and posting some photos to your site of you doing actual plumbing activities? I’d bet you could rent the costumes for $100 for a day (a month before Halloween when it’s cheaper) and then do the photo shoot. Submit the page to reddit, digg, and a bunch of video game enthusiast sites, every Mario Brothers-related Facebook page, etc. It’s one day’s worth of work, and a few years worth of links…
You can see from the examples above that ideas can range from pretty simple to a bit more complex – the one thing they all have in common, though, is a bit of creativity.
2) Think Long Term:
Holiday content is evergreen content, so be sure to follow best practices for evergreen content so you can keep promoting it year after year (That means no “Halloween 2011” in the title unless the content is actually 2011 specific).
3) Be Smart Beforehand:
Design your content so that it’s easy to direct links and references to your own site. In the first example, the “pumpkin giving birth” photos were posted to the business’s Facebook page. As a result, it was reposted elsewhere and emailed around without proper attribution (aka a link to their website!). Have a dedicated page on your website for the content, and consider finding a tasteful way to watermark the content with your URL if it’s a photo or video that will get embedded outside of your site.
4) Be Proactive:
Once you post the content and it goes viral (fingers crossed) pat yourself on the back, but don’t move on because your work isn’t done. Now you need to hunt down all of the places where the content was posted without a link. If they don’t already have a link to your site (or if their link is to a middleman site), contact them and ask if they’ll add/change to your link. Search for the title of your content in quotes on Google and you’ll find many of the references. If your content is an image, Google Image search now allows you to drag and drop images to find where that image has been posted online. Here’s a tutorial: Google’s Search By Image.