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How To Use April Fools As A Link Building Tool
April fools is a time for brands to show a little character and perhaps take a few risks. April Fools' Day or April Fool's Day is an annual custom on April 1, consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes and there is no shortage of businesses who have tried and failed or trailed and won, both can be done spectacularly.
It's a double-edged sword that can backfire if not done tastefully can set your website up for a significant improvement in traffic on the day as well as building towards more sustainable uplift in traffic in the future.
April fools campaigns are traditionally conducted one via visual push channels such as social media and email. Still, it can be so much more, and if done well, can be a massive opportunity to improve your websites SEO.
To illustrate the idea I will give you an example of a scented candle website that could use a smart but straightforward April fools campaign to build links and brand awareness that will lead to future growth and sales.
Creating a viral piece of content
I hate to use the word "viral", one due to the current news events and two because its such an overused term in marketing but this is where this strategy sort of banks on, being picked up by media and social media. You need to create a narrative that is unusual but not too outlandish that it is dismissed as a hoax off the bat.
You also need to release the content a few weeks before April 1 to allow it to gain traction, curiosity and get as many eyes on it as possible.
Let's say our fictional business has an eCommerce site and sells candles online; we do marketing through the various channels SEO, PPC, Email, Social Media, and get a reasonable amount of traffic. We have to complete with other niche stores as well as big retailers for market share, and we're looking to stand out.
April fools come around, and the marketing team decides to put out an outrageous piece of content. Our little candle store announces on their social media page, email and on-sight that we will be releasing a brand new range of Bear scented candles. These candles will look and smell like a range of bears and will be available for purchase soon.
Customers can soon enjoy the smell of 6 bears in your latest product range release.
- Grizzly Bear
- Polar Bear
- Panda Bear
- Brown Bear
- Black Bear
- Sloth Bear
Note! Do not provide the release date or you will give away your pitch, instead provide a vague availability date, like soon or shortly.
Building your digital assets
Now that you've made your announcement, you will need to create digital assets that support your narrative and drive home the curiosity factor. Treat it as a legitimate product release and pull out all the stops. In a world filled with fake news and click-bait articles, you will need to build up some credibility through consistent messaging.
Start by creating campaign graphics and branding for the April fools product range and adding it to your site with banners and product images as well as updating your social media channels. Include a standard banner at the bottom of your emails to pique interest and drive users to your campaign landing pages.
Landing pagesCreate a category landing page for your new range as well as individual product pages with detailed content on each product page. Make sure that your pages look legitimate but allow customers to remain suspicious. Remember these pages are where the media mentions and marketing traffic will go so they need to pages that can be well received or they won't collect the links that you intend to get.
ContentNow that you have landing pages up its time to create supporting content to complete the narrative. You should be creating posts talking about the process behind creating the product range, the so-called sources you used, expert advice, the extensive research you have done and continue to play with customers who follow you down the rabbit hole.
Starting your outreach
After you have prepared all your marketing material, its time to reach out to your customers and the media, make polls on your site or social media and engage with your audience, get their feedback on what they think of the new range of products.
Then use that feedback and prepare a press release which you can host on your site and distributed to various media sites to see if they'll pick up the story. Some may pick it up from the buzz you create on social media, while others may need a more direct approach.
By providing a statement for sites to work off of, it means they report the story consistently across different websites and also deep-link to the correct pages on your site.
For those SEOs who feel these may be creating low-quality links, remember the context of the article is still about selling candles and linking to your site, which is what you re doing, making these posts highly contextual. While the premise of the article may be tongue in cheek, the general message about your business and brand is consistent with what you do.
The buzz generated from the campaign should be used to drive leads for your business and never lose sight of that fact. You can insert prompts to sign up to your newsletter or subscribe to your social media or push notifications if they want to be first to know about the product launch and add some more potential clients to your marketing ecosystem.
Collecting these leads can help offset the cost of the campaign and give you tangible sales and even repeat business once the dust settles.
The grand reveal
After causing all this hype you have to remember eyes will be on your site and you cannot afford to make a mistake with your messaging from here on in or it could land you in hot water.
This is the most delicate part of the process since you've already set up the story and sold it to prospective clients you will need to ease them into the idea that they were pranked with some humour and an offer of some kind. In keeping with the theme, it could be a range of scented candles shaped like a bear or have images added to them along with a discount for purchase to thank everyone for playing along.
You could also partner up with a local animal shelter and provide donations to them as part of the campaign that will come from the sales of this limited edition series of products.
As long as your hoax reveal is done with positive sentiment, customers should take the news of your tomfoolery a lot less seriously.
Use some smart world play to endear yourself with your audience such as
"We couldn't bear to keep the secret from you any longer."
Then proceed to explain the entire campaign so that those who may not have received your previous messaging but fell into the funnel are brought up to speed on the whole campaign.
On April 01, be sure to change.
- All your creative on your site and social pages
- Creative on your site
- Update your product pages
- Update your product category pages
- Update your blog posts
- Link to your April Fools announcement
Make sure you scrub all mentions of the prank from your channels so not to confuse anyone after the campaign is done. You can still leave the original blog posts, category pages and product pages up, but be sure to add a disclaimer and link to your official announcement so those latecomers can still follow the trail. You will also be passing the link equity from those campaign pages on to deeper parts of your site to get the maximum value from your internal linking.
April fools SEO tool
There you have it, my plan on how to leverage April fools to build high-quality contextual links. These backlinks will not only drive a spike in referral traffic int he initial phase but have google looking upon your site favourably for searches in the future.
Are you looking to promote your business?
South African Business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.
If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on content marketing & SEO.
- How to Align Content Writing and SEO for Ecommerce
- How To Optimise YouTube Videos For SEO
- When Should You Consult an SEO
- How Your Niche Website Can Benefit From SEO
- Does Website Downtime Affect SEO?