Are you frustrated that your remarkable content (a.k.a. link bait) isn't acquiring high-quality links? The problem might be that your focus is too broad and competitive. These days, it's easier to focus on minor topics to obtain high-quality links.
True, you aren't going to obtain thousands, nor even hundreds, of links by targeting these 'low-hanging fruit" topics. Then again, this isn't 2001, and large numbers of low-end links rarely get a site top ranking for something competitive. Well, at least not sustainable, long-term rankings.
Targeting low-hanging fruit will get a handful of high-quality links that will continue to grow over time. I'd take five links from quality sites over 100 low-quality blog links any day. Besides, most of those low-quality blogs will be abandoned within six months and have few quality backlinks to make a difference.
What's the real advantage of targeting low-hanging fruit? If your content ranks in the top 5 or 10 for their keywords, they'll acquire more links over time. Even so-called "high-quality editorial links" (note the sarcasm) from universities are frequently based off Google results.
Here's how it works. A student aid, staffer, or even professor is creating a page on a topic. They go to Google and look at top 10 results. Then they select three or four of those sites that look decent.
While it would be great to get a broad-based term ranking in the top 10 -- that's very difficult, unless you happen to work with an older authority site. Yet you're still competing with mass content sites, including About.com, eHow, Wikipedia, Associated Content, and Mahalo.
Instead, go after minor topics you can get ranked in the top 10. Instead of creating one great piece of link bait per month, create four small niche pieces a month. Whatever you produce, make sure it's the kind of material that deserves a link.
Let's say you're in a super-competitive and profitable field like online dating. Instead of going after the main topic, go after something smaller that will attract links from authority sites, such as colleges or parenting sites.
Something like "dating safety" is too broad and competitive. A better, narrower topic would be, "Dating Safety in College -- What Parents Must Know."
Including the word "parents" gives it more credibility and increases the likelihood of acquiring links. Otherwise, it might be hard to get a university or parenting site to link to a dating site.
The above topic will easily rank in the top 10 and garner links from high-quality sites. Those few links will secure the page top rankings and the article will gain more links over time. Every time a student assistant, or professor, is creating a page on "dating safety" your site has a good chance of acquiring another quality link.
How do you know what can easily rank in the top 10? One way is to research how many pages have the words in the title tag with an "allintitle" search. It's part of Google's advanced search under "Where your keywords show up:"
It's easy to see which topic has a much greater likelihood of ranking in the top 10. Then it's all about promoting it to the right people.
Now it's time to start brainstorming to find the low-hanging fruit topics for your field. Get to it!