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E-Marketing Performance Blog

How to Use Viral Content to Build Links #linksecrets

While this isn’t my best-kept, ultimate tactic or “secret sauce” in link and brand building, I think it’s an underused technique so I decided to share it here.

I call it Viral Anchorage. The viral element of this tactic is very crucial. A viral topic already has a sure following, an existing audience: lurkers, commenters, influencers, sharers and engagers. That alone reduces the manpower and time needed to build interest on the topic, and on some campaigns that could mean everything.

Leverage viral content to build quality links and traffic using “Viral Anchorage.” [tweet this]

I’m an advocate of content marketing and giving real value to the web. And that translates to publishing—not just unique but, more importantly, original content.

For those not familiar with content marketing, unique content simply means passing Google’s duplicate content filter (or to some extent, passing Copyscape checking), while original content means something that hasn’t been published before. The first one’s really easy to do; the latter may be a bit challenging but can be very rewarding.

Last year, a Philippine senator supposedly plagiarized the 1966 Day of Affirmation Address of former New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy by translating it to Filipino (the native language of the Philippines). The news went big. It went viral: fast and violently. It was a scandal, and because it involved two big public figures, Sen. Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, it became a hot topic on social media, TV, and online news websites, both local and international.

And we all know how valuable links from reputable news websites are, right?

Of course, I wasn’t the one who first reported the supposed plagiarism. It came from a viral tweet containing a simple image that placed Sotto’s speech in Filipino side by side with that of Kennedy’s speech in English. But there was something missing. Amidst all the people saying that the Philippine senator supposedly translated to Filipino Kennedy’s speech, there was none, not a single article or blog post, offering undeniable proof. Something that has numbers (like how many words were copied or translated) and more importantly, using a tool that can perhaps support the claim.

So I provided what was missing.

Sotto Article KimoftheWorld - LBS 2014 Image 1

Using Google Translate, I translated Kennedy’s English speech to Filipino, compared it to Sotto’s Filipino speech, and used a simple text compare tool and voila: I found out that the Filipino senator’s speech was a 35% duplicate of Kennedy’s Google-translated speech.

The Results:

Backlinks and mentions from blogs and websites, including one from GMANetwork.com news website, 43rd most popular website in the Philippines according to Alexa (this site is my country’s equivalent to CNN.com).

The backlink is now set to nofollow, and it was not when I got it, but who cares? My blog received huge traffic and believe it or not, a few good leads and a client—all from that blog post. Who would have thought, right?

I also received a lot of retweets, including one from a very popular and influential TV broadcaster Karen Davila (she had 735k followers during that time, now she has 1.09M)

retweet from Karen Davila

Have I replicated that to real brands and products? Yes! And you can do it, too.

Is it scalable? Yes! And it can be done in almost every niche.

Quick tips on how to do it:

  1. Create alerts on news.google.com targeting your keywords and keywords on vertical micro niches. Micro niche is important to filter out the noise and to save you from spending so much time researching a subject you’re not comfortable or familiar with.
  2. Other tools to monitor virality of articles or content based on your niche or keywords and keywords on vertical micro niches that get published (there are tons of tools and websites out there, but let me give you a few): Topsy Social Trends (Twitter), LikeButton.com (Facebook) and YouTube Trends Blog (YouTube).
  3. Always check articles for missing, wrong or questionable information, as well as incomplete or inappropriate citation and ways to improve the content/originality.
  4. Provide the missing content on the subject.
  5. Outreach quickly to relevant parties, including the author(s) of the original content and influential people who shared the original content.


What have you missed? Here are some recent topics and news items that you could have corrected, improved, debunked or simply have anchored your fresh content into:

  1. Giraffe Riddle
  2. McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets revealed under the microscope
  3. U.S. Government shutdown

The possibilities are endless!

This tip, and 19 more, can be downloaded in one PDF.

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