Definitions make us lazy. They confine us to a specific way of thinking. More often than not they stop us thinking. Such is how I feel about the term "linkbait".
I love the concept of linkbait, I just feel the label which signifies it is a bit of a strait jacket. And thus it is with any label, as soon as something is named it is destroyed.
What would you call linkbait if you couldn't call it linkbait?
I'm not going to answer that question for you. It's for you to think about, to explore, to ruminate over. Sorry if you were expecting a piece of knowledge served on a plate, filleted and grilled, lightly seasoned with a hint of lemon.
OK, here's something.
Take one hundred, tightly written, keyword focused, capsule articles, the kind you can pick up for $20 a pop on any decent writers forum. The kind that solves a specific problem, not very exciting and if you don't need that specific problem solving, quite tedious to read, but very useful if you do have that problem. Articles like these tend to be a bit wimpy in attracting links, but they sure are juicy for targeted keywords.
One of these articles is not going to do much, but collectively they can demonstrate authority in a given niche.
Amongst these "capsule content" pages consider dropping a big fat, bad ass piece of linkbait, the kind that will attract hundreds of links. Linkbait is sometimes not pretty, but it can provide brute force to aid those wimpy, more focused pages.
After the links come in and things settle down a little, link out from the linkbait to the "wimpy", keyword pages using the targeted keyword as anchor text.
Different content provides different solutions. Content doesn't only exist to get links, but linkbait does. Give the job of sucking in those links to linkbait and then let other content tighten up the keyword profile of the site. SUre, the linkbait may not be targeted at a useful keyword, but those other pages are focused and there are 100 targeted keyword phrases which have a lot more chance of ranking because of their ugly cousin "linkbait".
Using linkbait as part of your overall strategy can have a far better effect than if it's seen as a stand alone solution.