It’s been a few weeks since Search Leeds and we’re still chatting about a certain talk. This talk was by Oliver Brett who explained how fake news can help you generate links. It’s basically a linkbait tactic that uses humour to get conversations started about a brand.

Oliver’s first experience of this was for his client, Plumbworld. The company created a fake product called the “Privi-Pee”. It’s basically a cape-like cover and a suction hook, which creates privacy for men who struggle to pee in public.

Ideas for other clients included finding the perfect accessory to your outfit – a puppy! You choose an outfit and it selects a puppy that would match it. A Groupon service that names your baby and the ‘comrade converter’ a solar powered World Cup t-shirt that changes nationality when you visit different countries. Crazy huh!?

What did Oliver have to say?

There are many tactics you can take when trying to generate links. Unlinked brand mentions, press requests, press releases, surveys and egobait are all part of PR. Infographics, data driven content and interactive content are all marketing strategies.

The bit Oliver was focussing on during his talk was linkbait, a tactic that falls within content marketing. It’s about creating content that’s designed to attract attention and encourage those viewing it to link back to a website.

Why should we consider this ploy? Because it’s quick, cheap and it can generate a huge opportunity to increase the number of links back to your site.

He said that in order to create linkbait you need to be funny, but not too obvious. You should never promise anything e.g. if it’s a fake product, mark it out of stock. Create fake branding to add authenticity and include realistic imagery.

However, you need the right client to follow through with this tactic. If you do have the right client, you need to make sure you have their trust. You also need to have the ability to implement your campaign quickly. It won’t work if there are lots of regulations to go through.

Why is Oliver trying to generate links?

Let’s start with the basics. A backlink is a link from another domain that points to pages on your domain. It’s these backlinks that contribute to the authority of your website. It’s like a vote of confidence. That outside domains trust your site enough to link to it.

With all these algorithm updates and changes in the industry, is link building still important in 2019? Well, SEO tool Moz conducted a 2019 study and the data indicated a strong correlation between links and rankings.

Google’s public statements and algorithm penalties also suggest that links are still important.

However, with all this talk about search intent (check out our Search Leeds comments on this) there should be a focus on the quality and nature of the links. All this will be taken into consideration when Google crawls the web.

Have you heard of clickbait fashion?

So, now I bet you’re wondering what all this has to do with an ASOS bikini? We have seen so many weird and wonderful outfits on ASOS we wondered if they were actually real.

We ordered the ‘In The Style Buckle Micro Bikini Top’ after seeing some conversations on social media and coverage in tier A publications such as this one in The Sun:

It was real! We ordered it, when it turned up we tried it on and dare I say it, it didn’t leave anything to the imagination!

Model wearing micro bikini.

In the past, there has also been crotchless jeans, male crop tops, body bows and bubble wrap dresses.

ASOS are creating these types of products to generate conversation. Their unusual clothing has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, Metro, Mirror and The Sun.

Check out some of these headlines:

Headlines talking about ASOS' click bait products.

Not only this, they generate huge traction on social media. Memes have been created and all in good humour, ASOS seem happy to poke fun at themselves. Online influencers are also getting in on the action.

Roxxsaurus’, who has 3.6 million subscribers on YouTube, created a video of herself trying on some of the weird items on ASOS. Another influencer, Instagrammer “Knee deep in life”, shared her recreation of the body bow. The image received 7.5K likes!

While generating conversation, ASOS are generating attention for the brand, which in turn, attracts sales – for more normal items.

With so much competition in the market these days, you’ve got to think outside the box to generate enough noise to get your brand heard.

What can we learn from our ASOS bikini?

  1. If it looks weird online, it will no-doubt look even worse on you!
  2. Links are still important in 2019, some may be a bit old school but it’s always best to have a go at a range of different tactics. Go with the ‘test and learn’ approach.
  3. If you have the right clients then give linkbait a go. Its low risk but could have a high reward.
  4. Fashion marketing has changed, it’s becoming more personal and using new ways to engage with its audience. Your way of engaging with your audience should change with the times. Consider doing something new and innovative to capture their attention.
  5. Don’t always believe what you see on the internet!