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How to Use Ego Bait Content to Attract Links & Generate Leads

Here’s how to create content that catches the attention of influencers in your niche and entices them to engage with your content like never before.

Link Building Guide - Ego Bait Content - Jessica Foster

Who doesn’t like a little ego boost?

When it comes to attracting high-quality links to your website, it may feel like you have tried everything in the book.

From mammoth evergreen content to good ol’ cold outreach, if you are running out of ideas (or simply aren’t seeing the results that you want), it may be time to get creative.

Fortunately, there’s a link building strategy that relies more on human psychology than it does SEO technique.

Enter Ego Bait Content – a smart, imaginative way to both attract quality links and generate new leads for your business.

Here’s how to create content that catches the attention of influencers in your niche and entices them to engage with your content like never before.

What Is Ego Bait Content?

As the name implies, the success of ego bait content involves “stroking the ego” of whichever influencer or website owner you want a link from. In a sense, it’s content that says “If I scratch your back, you’ll scratch mine”.

While many link building methods aim to create content that appeals to a wide audience, ego bait takes a highly targeted, more personal approach.

The key here is creating content that oriented around a specific person, business, or group of people.

How Does Ego Bait Content Work?

Ego bait content is an example of how human psychology and marketing can intertwine to bring in some pretty amazing (and lucrative) results.

Influencers and website owners alike want to be recognized for their accomplishments, products, and skills. By sharing these with your audience, you inspire them to share your content with their own audience and even link to it from their website.

This content can take the form of commending them for their work, including them in a “best of” post, featuring them in an interview, or anything else that says, “You’re awesome. Here’s why.”.

In fact, there are many types of ego bait and the approach you take both depends on whose ego you are trying to bait and whether your goal is to generate backlinks, leads, or both.

Types of Ego Bait Content

The most important thing to keep in mind before jumping into creating ego bait content is that it should put the recipient – not link building – front and center.

While this may seem backward, it’s just too easy to slip into the mindset of link building that aims to reach a wider audience in hopes of attracting as many links as possible.

Successful ego bait content is personal, focused, and intentional.

That’s why choosing the right type of ego bait content will depend on who you are trying to target.

The main types of ego bait content are:

  • Interviews
  • Round-Up Posts
  • Listicles
  • Directories
  • Awards

Below is a quick summary of each type of ego bait content. Later on, you’ll learn how to pick the right type of content for reaching your SEO goals.

1. Interviews

A featured interview is one of the best ways to get influencers to share and link back to your content. Interviews allow you to put them in the spotlight – which is a huge ego boost.

By taking the time to ask them questions, highlight their expertise, and share their story with your audience, you build a relationship that encourages mutual benefit. They’ll be happy to share their own interview across social media and even link back to it from their own site.

Interview content is also easy to put together. Simply reach out to the influencer or business owner to make sure that they’re on board, send them a list of questions, and then publish the questions and answers on your site.

No need to spend hours researching and writing a mammoth piece of content. With this type of ego bait, you can create quality content quickly and generate traffic and links potentially overnight.

2. Round-Up Posts

Much like interviews, round-up posts feature experts in your industry and share their expertise or stories with your audience.

The difference here is that a round-up post features several influencers and typically includes shorter quotes rather than extensive interview questions.

When creating a round-up post, you’ll first want to think of a topic that’s of interest to your audience.

For example, if you are a family law attorney, you may want to call on experts that help people cope with divorce, such as psychologists, motivational speakers, and authors.

Then, you will build out a piece of content that allows the participants to share their top tips or stories on the topic. For the example above, that could be “10 Experts Share How to Get Over a Divorce” or “How These 8 Divorcees Found Love Again.”

Once published, you’ll want to reach out to participants to encourage them to share the post and link to it from their own content.

3. Listicles

A listicle, or list article, is a piece of content that typically highlights the “best of” for a certain niche, or creates a comprehensive list of resources, products, or influencers for users to read/buy/follow.

An example of a listicle could be “10 Best Meditation Apps”, “50+ Ways to Grow Your Business in 2019”, or SEJ’s 140 Top SEO Experts You Should Be Following in 2019. These kinds of articles are highly informative and beneficial to users.

In an ego bait listicle, you will be referring to multiple influencers or business owners in order to stroke their egos and get them to engage with your content.

The goal is to create content that they would feel honored to be featured in. That’s why your content should be well-researched and irresistible.

Again, you will want to choose a topic that’s of interest to your audience and will attract links from quality websites in your niche.

Then, you’ll reach out to webmasters before and/or after you feature them to encourage them to share or link to your content.

4. Directories

Believe it or not, directories can be a type of ego bait content as well. Not only are directories helpful to users, but they’re a way of highlighting other businesses in your industry.

Directories can also be a great source of lead generation for your business.

For instance, if you often generate business from local contractors, you may want to create a directory of contractors in your local area.

That way, you can build partnerships with these contractors and help them generate traffic through your directory. Then, you can reap the rewards through referral business.

Of course, you may not want to give too much limelight to direct competitors, so be careful in choosing who to feature in your directory. It’s best to create a resource of businesses that will send leads your way and won’t be put out by linking back to your website.

5. Awards

Nothing is quite as enticing when it comes to ego bait as giving awards to those businesses you value the most.

Awards can be an authentic way of calling attention to amazing organizations, thought leaders, and businesses in your industry.

To be effective as a link building strategy, you will want to take the time to research each recipient and take note of what makes them unique. Highlight their years of experience, how they have served their local community or the results they have gotten for their clients. Put them in the spotlight.

The award may be as simple as a featured post on your website or could include a custom-designed graphic to commemorate the moment. Just be sure that the award fits with what your business values and benefits the recipient as well.

Note: Don’t use awards simply to generate a backlink. Most businesses will be able to see right through your efforts. Instead, see it as an opportunity to grow your network and bring attention to businesses that are doing great work.

When executed correctly, this type of ego bait content is likely to drive traffic to your website and even attract some backlinks in return.

Using Ego Bait to Attract Links & Generate Leads

Once you familiarize yourself with the different types of ego bait content, it will be easier to determine which type makes sense for your goals and the influencers you are trying to reach.

But, before you get to writing, it’s worth taking the time to create a list of contacts that you want to “bait” and developing a strategy on how you are going to generate shares, links, and leads.

Step 1: Make a List

As with any link building effort, you want to be sure that you are targeting high-quality, niche-related websites.

It’s not in your best interest to reach out to influencers or webmasters that will have no interest in your content or won’t benefit your site in some way. You will want to choose websites that are strong SEO-wise (high ranking, high authority, niche related) and that have an audience that is likely to engage with your content

You can use SEO tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush to find websites that are worth targeting in your ego bait content.

Some things to factor in are what keywords they are ranking for, how much traffic they get, whether their site is relevant to your industry, and how authoritative their site is in the eyes of search engines.

Once you have made a list of websites to reach out to, you can move on to pick the topic of your content and the type of ego bait you want to create.

Step 2: Pick Your Topic

You should already recognize some trends and similarities in the websites you have included on your list. This will help you determine which type of ego bait content will be most effective.

For instance, if most of the websites on your list are those of industry experts, you may want to create a series of interviews or build out a round-up post.

If, however, most of the websites are businesses, sell products online, or feature tools and apps, it makes sense to create a listicle or directory to feature several websites at once.

Next, you will want to choose a topic that both makes sense for your own website and the websites you are targeting.

The topic should be of interest to your audience and enticing enough to encourage participants to link back to and share your content. You may also want to do keyword research to make sure the topic is conducive to generating organic traffic.

Step 3: Reach Out

By this point you should:

  • Have a solid list of contacts to reach out to.
  • A killer ego bait content idea.

Depending on the type of content you chose, you will want to reach out to those contacts in order to get more information from them. This is also a way to break the ice and encourage them to link back to your content later on.

If you have decided to conduct an interview, reach out to potential participants to confirm that they are onboard. Then, follow up with the interview questions and collect their replies.

For round-up posts, directories, and listicles, you may require additional information from participants. This could include collecting their “best tips” for your chosen topic, an image for their bio in your article, or contact information for their business.

Also, it’s worth giving them a heads-up on what the content piece is about, when it will be published, and how you would appreciate them engaging with your post.

This could be as simple as saying, “Once the article comes out, we would love it if you would share it with your audience or mention it on your website!”

Step 4: Create Your Ego Bait

Ego bait content is a form of content marketing, so it makes sense that much of its success depends on the content itself.

If you are creating an interview or round-up, much of the work will have already been done for you after you collect the responses from participants. I also recommend including an engaging introduction, some high-quality images, and short summary at the end.

Other types of ego bait content will be more involved – requiring you to write much of the content yourself, sourcing images, or building out a directory. Because this content aims to serve multiple purposes, it’s worth taking the time to do it right.

If you need help writing content or marketing your content, consider hiring a professional content writer or content marketing expert to make your ego bait content top-notch.

Step 5: Follow Up

If you gave participants a heads-up before creating your content, they should already be expecting you to follow up after the content is published. This should be your final attempt at asking for a link or a share.

To help you out, here is a simple email template to ask websites for backlinks and social shares:

Hey [Name],

Thanks again for participating in our [ article/directory/interview series], [ name of article/directory/interview ]. Our readers have loved it so far!

We couldn’t have created this amazing resource without you – and think that your audience will benefit from it as well.

Please feel free to share [ link to content ] on social media or link to it in your own content. We would appreciate and we’re sure your readers will too!

Let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help you out in the future. We are all about connecting with amazing [ people/businesses ] in the [ your industry ] industry.

Thanks so much!

Finally, follow up with businesses that are featured in your directory to see if they have any referrals to send your way. This is a great way to build a lasting partnership that’s a win-win for both of you.

Bonus tip: Ego bait content is a great way to grow your professional network. Even if you don’t end up getting a link from a website, it opens the door to future partnerships and collaborations. Keep your eyes open to the opportunities and discuss how you may work together in the future.


Ego bait content isn’t simply meant to be an ego “boost” to business owners. It can serve many purposes and can, in fact, be mutually beneficial to both you and the people you are trying to target.

The success of your ego bait content depends on creating content that puts the participant front and center – highlighting their accomplishments, sharing their expertise, and telling their stories.

Not only is ego bait content interesting to your own audience, but it entices participants to share your content like wildfire and link to it from their own websites. Plus, it can open the door to future partnerships, collaborations, and more.

Get creative with your content and use ego bait to attract links and generate leads for your business.


Timeframe: Every 2-3 months

Results detected: Often immediate or up to 6 months

Average links sent per month: ~3 per month (varies widely depending on how many people are featured)

Tools needed:

  • SEMrush
  • Google Forms
  • Google Trends
  • Ahrefs

Benefits of ego bait content:

  • Relationship building can be mutually beneficial, both in terms of SEO and collaboration opportunities. It is a great way to generate links and grow a potential referral network.
  • Publishing ego bait content presents multiple opportunities to circulate content across a variety of platforms and a wider audience. The content marketing benefits can be 4-fold: links, traffic, authority, and brand visibility.

Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita

Category Link Building

Jessica Foster is the founder and lead SEO Content Writer at Keys&Copy – a premier content agency that serves SEO ...

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