The best linkbait is ALWAYS funny. Sure, linkbait can succeed when the content is genuinely interesting, or when it has high-quality supportive media. But the very best internet content, the type of content that people crave, hunt down, and share will always have some element of humor.
That’s because internet is, for most people anyway, purely about entertainment. We watch videos on YouTube or Hulu because we want to laugh. We read (and re-read) daily updates from Cracked to keep us sane at work. We unwind after a stressful day by checking up on The Onion or College Humor. We’ve come to rely on the internet as our instant source for stress relief, and nothing relaxes us as well as laughter. If your linkbait content isn’t entertaining, even if it’s an informative and well-constructed piece, it might not succeed.
That’s not to say that every piece you write needs to be a comedy piece. In fact, unless you run a comedy website, that’s probably not the best path for you to follow. But a piece can be subtly funny without searching for laughs overtly. A pun, a reference to the pop-culture phenom of the moment, supportive media in the form of funny Photoshop images, an amusing anecdote- all these things can add a little humor into the intro or body of your linkbait content.
So why does humor matter? Well, besides the fact that people go online to be entertained, you’ll also find that well-placed humor in a linkbait article can give a hook to content that might otherwise be bland. No one wants to read your thesis about ice cube trays, no matter how much research you’ve compiled. But find a hook like “8 Hilarious Pranks People Pulled with Ice Cube Trays”, and you’ll be pulling in some serious traffic.
Humor also adds aura of quality. Good comedy writing is hard, and also hard to find. Let’s face it: anyone can write a blog post. Not everyone has the talent to make you laugh. And when people laugh, they share. And if you can create content that is too funny not to share, you’ve got something special on your hands.
One last caveat: If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. If you aren’t aware of what is funny/trending right now, find someone who is. Get them to write for you. Adding humor can bring the success of your piece to the next level. Trying to be funny and failing miserably will guarantee that no one ever reads your article. Writers who understand how to “bring the funny” often have years of experience honing their craft. Learn from their successes, and you can avoid future failures.