Blogging for Links

Attention new bloggers & those who just want to get more links: Eugene Volokh has some typically excellent and thorough advice for you on how to promote your weblog.
I agree with basically everything he says, especially the following:
…pitch the blog post (“Here’s a post I just posted:”) not the blog (“Come and read my blog”). If people really like your posts, then they’ll start to regularly read your blog.
Yes! I’d also elaborate on Eugene’s points (go back and read them all) around e-mailing posts to other bloggers. I have made extensive use of this technique myself, and it can be very helpful in gaining the “big guns” attention. But I think it’s critical to calibrate just how much you e-mail any one blogger, and the best way to do that is to ask yourself whether the relationship you are building seems to be a mutually beneficial one.
Because when a big blogger links you, they generally aren’t doing it to do you a favor. They’re doing it because they find your post interesting, and believe their readers will too. At one extreme, if you could send a Big Name blogger only posts that they thought were great and linked every time, you’d be perfect: you wouldn’t be “bothering” them at all, you’d be helping them. But at the other extreme lie the trolls who send me their daily why-Bush-is-Evil newsletters. I doubt they actually expect me to link them, but they certainly provide no value to me, and are simply an annoyance.
One basic way to measure if the relationship is a mutually beneficial one is the obvious: is the other blogger actually linking the posts you send them? I have found that even the biggest-name bloggers generally do make an attempt to read all their e-mail. So if you get no response on one post you e-mail to them: they might have missed it. But if you get no response on three in a row — well, you’re probably just not providing them with material they find intriguing, and you should either stop, or change your approach.
And the logic doesn’t change once they do link you, either: that’s not a sign to go ahead and e-mail every last post you write to them! Keep sending just the very best stuff; aim for a linked-to-ignored ratio of at least above 50%.
If you follow Eugene’s rules and the guidelines I’ve stated here, I won’t guarantee that you’ll achieve blogging success, but I will at least predict that you won’t annoy the hell out of anybody trying.
And one last thought: Don’t always just aim for the very-top tier bloggers. The folks who are a notch or two down (for instance, me) generally get far less mail, and are far more likely to actually take the time to read your weblog. My personal position right now is that I enjoy receiving mail from new bloggers — though I definitely prefer those who follow Eugene’s advice to pitch the post, not the whole blog. It’s not that I mind getting mail that says “Come check out my weblog” — it’s just that it doesn’t give me much to go on, and I may or may not actually get around to doing it.
Anyway, as Eugene doesn’t have comments, I’d welcome fellow blogger’s contributions here. What’s your strategy for promoting your weblog (or do you not bother doing so at all?) What’s your perspective on onsolicited e-mail from other bloggers? (This is an ‘evergreen’ discussion, by the way: I swear I had a post on similar stuff sometime last year, but can’t find it just now.)

Share