Case in point. I'm driving into work a couple of weeks ago along the northern shore of Lake Ontario, and voila. I see a phenomenon I've never seen before, and have only heard about once.

Ok I think, wheres my camera? Oh good, its here. And I snap a few shots.

Here's the result; Snow Donuts … A Natural Weather Phenomenon

Snow Donuts

The 30 minutes it took me to snap the pictures, download them, write a quick post, load the post, and submit it to Digg and Stumbleupon, resulted in:
a) 15,000+ unique visitors to the site to which is was loaded (an acquaintance)
b) hit the buzz page of Stumbleupon … no funny business I assure you
c) hit the Mixx homepage (someone else submitted it)
d) drove a few thousand visits from Reddit (again, someone else submitted it)
e) missed the homepage of Digg by a small amount (see Digg)
f) will result in an image link on Wikipedia on this page

On that note … local media completely missed the boat.

Here's an example of a video captured by another amateur photographer that may have been better utilized …

Obviously, I'm not suggesting that your staff will snap unique pictures every day, but once in a while could certainly be beneficial … and the more people the better. Of course, they would have to be taught to look for photo opportunities that could be spun to apply to your business in some way.

It would also have to be positioned as a trade with your staff; ie. we'll provide each/some staff with a digital camera (wouldn't have to be expensive … $100 per is likely sufficient), if they agree to carry it with them routinely, and snap photos and videos of interesting situations they encounter.

Quick Cost/Benefit Analysis:
With 10 people, I would suggest that it wouldn't be unrealistic to expect one winner photo/video per month. Social media types are ALWAYS looking for unique photos and videos! At the same time, if all the pictures taken are loaded to an on site image gallery, or perhaps even Flickr, its an opportunity to rank for thousands more long tail terms.

Costs:
Cost = (10 employees x 1 camera per @ $100/camera) / Lifetime of Camera in Months
Cost = $1000 one-time / 36
Cost = $27/month

Assumption:
Camera's lifetime = 36 months

Benefits:
Benefit (Ultra Conservative) = [SMT/month X $.01 (SMVV)] + [ST/month x $1 (STVV)]
Benefit (Ultra Conservative) = (5000 x $.01) + (200 X $1)
Benefit (Ultra Conservative) = $250/month

Assumptions:
- Social Media Traffic (SMT) = 5000 visitors per month from social media
- Social Media Value/Visit (SMVV) is worth very little, though relevant pictures will attract relevant visitors … so lets assume $.01/visitor (very conservative)
- Search Traffic (ST) = 200 extra visitors per month from search
- Search Traffic Value/Visit (STVV) is obviously much more valuable than equivalent traffic from social media … estimate $1/visitor

and this doesn't take into account the value of:
a) an search engine friendly Wikipedia link
b) increase in RSS subscribers
c) the links generated
and much more.

ROI:
ROI = (Benefit – Cost)/Cost X 100%
ROI = $250/mo. – $27/mo.)/$27/mo.
ROI = 826%

Other Suggestions:
Watermark your photos! Otherwise others will take your photos and will not give credit where credit is due.

Conclusion:
Where else can you get a minimum 826% ROI … it is outstanding. What are you waiting for?

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15 Responses to “Want Great LinkBait … Provide Your Staff Small Digital Cameras!”

  1. Matt Ridout says:

    Wow what a ROI that is!

    Great snow donuts by the way Jeff :)

  2. Shana Albert says:

    What an awesome idea, Jeff!! You are brilliant…. absolutely brilliant. :)

  3. Jeff Quipp says:

    @ Matt – thanks Matt. I suspect actual ROI will be many times higher yet in most cases, but had to keep the model simple. In retrospect, it does seem like a slam dunk doesn't it?

    @ Shana – thanks Shana! You know its just one of those things. I missed some unbelievable opportunities in the past (cover of time material), and thought "never again". Then, delving into social media, follow you and others, and seeing the power of images. You were a part of this process Shana!

  4. Sutocu says:

    Makes perfect sense. You just gotta hope the employees don't figure the high ROI out and ask for extra pay!

  5. I completely agree with Shana on this one: you are brilliant.

    Thank you for sharing your idea with us Jeff, really, thank you!

  6. evisibility says:

    What an awesome post, this is such a great idea. There are so many creative people within Internet marketing companies and this is the way that you can really tap into the creativity. Plus this is a good image builder.

  7. Share enjoying life –> build community, get traffic.
    Have I missed anything?

  8. SearchBuzz says:

    Hey Jeff – very funny you posted this.

    I was just thinking about the same thing while spending the weekend in San Fran two weeks ago.

    I never leave home without my camera and in this short 2 1/2 day trip, I must have captured 2 or 3 really great 'linkbait' worthy pictures!

    Good stuff — :)

    -mike b.

  9. Utah SEO says:

    So it really can rain doughnuts. :)

    I'm going to pitch cameras to my boss with this post. Wish me luck.

  10. Kyle says:

    Great post! Another way to think creatively.

  11. [...] Want Great LinkBait … Provide Your Staff Small Digital Cameras! Where else can you get a minimum 826% ROI … it is outstanding. What are you waiting for? (tags: photography LinkBait) [...]

  12. Carolyn says:

    Anyone have suggestions for the handiest little camera that takes both video and stills? Great idea…can't wait to dive in! There are so many wonderful green business and green living ideas out here now!

  13. Arnie says:

    I was at a SEMPO meeting last night and we discussed a very similar concept using the new Flip video cam.

    You might enjoy my post "Thou Shalt Still Enjoy Good Linkbait"…
    http://www.linkbuildingbestpractices.com/link-bait/enjoy-good-linkbait

  14. Creative. No more to say other than that.
    And I can't imagine if we pay 100 people to take a photograph and post it in blog, how much we will earn $$ :D

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