I really love online marketing that focuses on capturing loyal, focused email subscribers. In my first year on Blog Tyrant I got over 4,000.

And one of the things I noticed was that the type of post structure I used had a real impact on how many people subscribed by email.

Let’s take a look at five link bait post structures that really get people motivated to read, share and eventually give you their email.

Is link bait a dirty term?

I know a lot of bloggers think that link bait is a little bit dirty, perhaps a bit black hat.

Well, its not.

You see, for something to get lots of backlinks these days it needs to be high quality. So if you are writing a post with the goal of getting more backlinks you are (most of the time) writing something highly useful, funny or engaging.

Link bait is not a dirty term. To be successful it requires content that helps people.

The 5 link bait post styles

So let’s dive in and have a look at five post styles that have helped me get more email subscribers.

5. The niche-narrow series
The first structure I want to talk about is one that used to be extremely popular but is now harder to come by – the niche-narrow series.

Darren Rowse used to do these all the time and a lot of bloggers followed in his footsteps. But in an era where many bloggers are writing big long posts or just filling up their blog with guest posts I have been noticing less series posts.

And remember, these things can often take a week to write when done properly. So it is a big undertaking.

But the thing is, people subscribe by email extremely quickly when they think there is a bunch of other posts coming up in a series that has really piked their interest.

Some key things to remember when trying to get subscribers this way:

  • Make it exhaustive and targeted
    As I always say, you need to write your posts in a way that makes them feel like the topic is almost exhausted. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be long, just leave your readers feeling satisfied but motivated about a very particular niche topic.
  • Make the first part enticing
    The first post in your series really needs to set up the ones to follow. This means emotion and other psychological triggers need to be present.
  • Add a call to action
    At the top of each post in this series make sure you have an italics section that tells people to subscribe by email if they want to get the other parts.

One of the best ways to find out if this post structure will work for your blog is to send out an email broadcast message with Aweber to announce a small 3 part email series where people have to subscribe to a different list to get involved. See how many numbers you get.

4. The resource-rich list post
One of my favorite type of posts to write and read is one that uses the old list post structure to promote a lot of resources for the people reading.

These posts have always been link bait (meaning they get lots of back links) and share bait. But they also get a lot of email subscribers because people love to feel connected to someone who knows a lot of cool things/people in their chosen area.

Its like knowing the hip indie kid who finds all the cool bars and coffee shops.

You’ll find that if you write a useful list post with a lot of useful links you will position yourself as a bit of an expert and people will sign up to see what other cool little secrets you have to offer. [Tweet this quote]

3. An incentive-based guest post
The third post structure that has worked very well for me is a guest post that is based around an offer or free give away that is available on my own blog.

I have written about this little technique a few times now – its called a funnel.

Basically the idea is that you introduce people to free eBook or blog style on your guest posts so as to funnel them back to your email list.

Some tips to make this work well include:

  • Making your backlinks well thought out
    It’s okay to include links to your own site in your guest posts. You should chose anchor text that is a phrase that is well linked to your offer so when people click it and arrive on your blog they are already primed for your offer. This also helps you rank on Google for your funnel term.
  • Avoid general posts
    Posts need to be very specific for this strategy to work. We aren’t trying to impress everyone, we just want the attention of those people interested in your email list offer.
  • Consider a specific landing page
    If you are really clever and prepared you will add a link on your guest post back to a specific landing page that you have built specifically for readers of that individual guest post. You can welcome them by the referring site’s name and tell them about you and your email list. Personalisation is key.
  • Bonus Tip: Use one of the best funnel builders for WordPress to access tons of templates and features proven to better convert your audience and save you time and energy!

I have done posts on Problogger using this strategy that have brought me over 100 subscribers in a day. Here is one you might like to check out for some examples.

2. The 2000+ word guide to [topic]
If you write 2000+ words of a very specific topic and your post has good basic English and a bit of personality you can’t fail.

These posts really get people’s attention.

If you take a look at any blog in the past ten years that has rocketed to success in a short time (think Dosh Dosh, Viper Chill, Smart Passive Income, Blog Tyrant, etc.) you will notice that all of them focused on huge posts that provided massive value to readers for no fee or gimmick.

Some of my posts were well in excess of 5,000 words. That is an eBook right there.

Now, it is important that you aren’t just rambling on in order to make your post look good. Each word, sentence and paragraph needs to add some value for the reader.

Make sure you do things like:

  • Break up the content
    Use dot points and lots of paragraphs and headings to break up the content and make it readable.
  • Link out
    Link out to other big blogs in your post so that the get the attention of the big boys as well as providing extra resources for your own readers. These links make you look more valuable.
  • Keep focused
    James Chartrand from Men with Pens often corrects my guest posts for being too wafty and brilliant aloof. Make sure you stick to the topic at every turn.
  • Use photos
    Make sure you use photos and images to help illustrate your points and draw the eye down.
  • Know your brand and style
    Don’t try and write different style posts all the time. Find your voice and make sure your posts all look and feel the same. It is part of branding.

Now people can get sick of long long posts if you don’t do them right. It is extremely important that you add a lot of value and solve a lot of problems if you want to get more email subscribers from the event.

My advice: don’t publish any post half-baked. It’s a big waste of your time. [Tweet this quote]

1. A trial and error story with findings
The last post structure that works extremely well these days for getting more email subscribers is a trial and error study that imbues your own personal story in the findings or post.

As I always say, people become loyal to other people, not brands. So when you share your own personal story on a given topic or event you capture people’s hearts and minds.

So what is a trial and error story with findings?

Basically it is where you share something that you tried and the results that you obtained and how the experience felt/worked/impacted/affected you.

Some examples include:

  • Income statements
    People love to read income statements if you are running a “make money” blog. It shows the person behind the blog and keeps things inspiring. Check out Pat’s for an example of how to mix the story and the figures.
  • Blog changes
    Are you changing something on your blog? Perhaps a sidebar or posting schedule? Talk about why and what the results were. Here’s an example from when I changed my sidebar.
  • Real world examples
    Has something happened to you in the offline world that applies to your blog? Write about how the two connect and share how it affected you. This guest post from Jon Morrow was (I think) the most popular in Problogger history.

People love to learn new things and they love following people who are experimenting (even failing) with new ideas and opportunities. Share them with your readers and watch how many more loyal email subscribers you get.

Over to you

Have you ever used a particular style of link bait post structure and noticed more email sign ups? Please leave a comment and tell me about it.


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  1. I’ve used list posts, guest posts and 2,000-word guide to promote my blog, but have not used them for list building purposes. I guess I should be doing this now!

    Thanks for the great post as usual!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 20, 2012

      Thanks Janus. Glad you liked it.

  2. Jamie Swanson on March 20, 2012


    My “Ultimate Guide to Pinterest” and my “Everything You Need to Know About Timeline for Facebook Pages” were HUGE and have been SUPER successful! They were practically ebooks, and have been passed around like MAD. Completely agree. This is a great post, by the way.

    My “Take Control of your Email Inbox Once and For All” 7-day series didn’t go over nearly as well, but it was near 5000 words too so I thought I’d try a series and I was disappointed in the results. Might re-package it as a free ebook to people in the future instead. Ah well.

    Great post.

    One more suggestion – can you link directly to the comments in your email blasts? I hate having to scroll all the way back to the top to click through to the post to leave a comment. You posts can be long, and I love commenting on them, so it’d just be a nice thing that saves me a slight annoyance (but is obviously not that big of a deal). Or even just another link to the post at the end. Thanks!

    1. Jamie Swanson on March 20, 2012

      I’m so redundant in this comment. Dang all this caffeine that makes me write quick and not look closely. And I shouldn’t have said “more”, as it’s only 1 suggestion. Ah well. 😉 Thanks for living with my poor writing and bad habits from chatting.

      1. the Blog Tyrant on March 20, 2012

        I’m so surprised I haven’t fixed that comment thing yet! Thanks Jamie!

  3. Sharon Fiberesima on March 20, 2012

    Great post Tyrant. I have used one or two of this type of posts and they seem to work well (not as well as they work for you though). However what really seems to ring a bell with my readers are personal-like posts dwelling on ethics in business. If I write about affiliate marketing for instance, I usually give my personal experience and recommendations. That is what seems to work the most for me.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 20, 2012

      The personal story is so important. That will always be number one in my opinion. Well said Sharon.

  4. I do the trail and error one often. I find it so easy because it lets the readers know who I am without much effort.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 21, 2012

      Nice work Glynis!

  5. It’s unusual that long articles work so well. Conventional wisdom is that people are too busy or lazy to digest a big chunk of information.

    I’ve been reading up on some of the old advertising greats, namely John Caples. In his classic book, “Tested Advertising Methods,” he says something like, “If your customer has a real problem and you have a real solution, there’s no limit to how much copy they’ll read.” For example, when I was shopping for a podcasting microphone, I read piles of reviews before choosing one. I was only willing to do that because I knew the research would be worth it.

    One of my all-time favorite pieces of link bait is . . . a guide to creating linkbait!

    That exhibits all the characteristics you listed. It’s niche, it’s long, and it links out to more great content.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 21, 2012

      Marcus my man – awesome quote and post! Thanks again.

  6. You must be very patient to write a 5000 words article and not loose focus. And you have to have patient readers to go with you up to the end of the article.
    What I mostly like here on Blog Tyrant is-apart from great content-the look and “feel” of the page.
    The typography is clean and clear and the paragraphs well delimited. I also like the lack of distraction such us crazy Twitter birds chirping all over the place and stuff… This give a feeling of sitting in a library with a good newspaper in your hands.
    I’m not sure, it could be just me but I think the era of eBook bribe is coming to an end and you’ll need to find some other stuff to attract subscribers…journeys to the Moon perhaps?

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 21, 2012

      Thanks for the kind words friend.

      I always want my sites to be clutter free and content focused.

      I think the eBook is alive and well. I’ll tell you why later.

  7. Stephen Jeske on March 21, 2012

    Link bait does have a negative connotation, doesn’t it? The other term, pillar content, sound so much more pleasing. No matter what term you use, you’re still talking about creating some very substantial content. While not every one of the ideas mentioned may apply to every niche, the more often and the more varied you can make these type of posts, the better.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 21, 2012

      True. Good work Stephen.

  8. Chris, Ramona's Carpet Cleaner on March 23, 2012

    I think I disagree with Stephen. It is what it is and should not have to be sugar coated. We are all trying to get other attention and make our mark. Great article, thanks

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 23, 2012

      Thanks Chris.

  9. Canada Lingerie on March 23, 2012

    I don’t see any problems with baiting. What’s so black hat about it?

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 23, 2012

      I guess some people think that it can be used as a way to lure people in when the content itself is not so good.

  10. There is another type that I refer to as wisdom posts where the author talks about something seemingly unrelated which ends up having a deep lesson filled bearing on the particular blogs niche. It’s like the parables of old or a type of psalms. I use to write these types like in my Marketing Metaphysics post and probably will get back on it… the only blog I notice that still does this is Age of Marketing.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on March 23, 2012

      Would you be able to post an example here for me?

      1. Are you saying as a guest post ❓

        1. the Blog Tyrant on March 24, 2012

          Oh, sorry, I meant a link from the Age of Marketing.

      2. ➡ Here’s a post I did in the past using the style I’m speaking of http://marketsecrets.biz/marketing-metaphysics-101

        Let me know if you would be interested in guest posts from me here at BT using this style..

        1. the Blog Tyrant on March 24, 2012

          Sweet I’ll check it out. Thanks Caleb.

  11. That’s really very useful information, I like your post, iwish you can accept that I share it in my travel website
    Tour manager

  12. Great post! I read the whole thing and I’m going to implement this on my blog! Thanks again!

  13. I have your blog favorited and haven’t been here in a while. And this post is exactly what I needed. For a long time, my main site has never linked out unless it made me money. But with Google being so whimsical these days, I figured it would be better to make it part of a community rather than an island.

    With all of the links in your post, for every blog tyrant post I read, I end up reading over 5 pages on your site and others. Great resource.

  14. 30 best male bloggers #30bestof on April 5, 2012

    […] Read posts of home like 5 Link Bait Post Types That Get You More Email Subscribers […]

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