Getting Linked by Big Bloggers
They are both wrong.
To begin with, it is simply untrue that the highest trafficked bloggers only link one another or are generally parsimonious with their links. Indeed, Glenn Reynolds is a one-man linking machine who sends out InstaLanches by the tens on a daily basis, mostly to blogging small fry. Similarly, Michelle Malkin and Markos Zuniga grace relative unknowns with linkage on a daily basis.
It is true that these sites and other popular blogs tend to link disproportionately to other popular blogs. That, however, is not a conspiracy but a tautology. Sites tend to be popular because they’re well written and provide interesting information. Those that do so on a regular basis tend to get noticed, linked by other bloggers, and then caught in a virtuous cycle whereby, if they continue to produce interesting content, they keep getting increasingly linked and read.
So, my quick advice for those seeking to get linked by the top bloggers is to write interesting things on a regular basis. Doing that will almost surely get you linked by several smaller bloggers, at least one of whom will be read by some somewhat bigger bloggers. Those people will notice your work and link to you. Those links will eventually be stumbled upon by bigger bloggers.
As for e-mailing bloggers, flattery is less useful than precise targetting. The more popular the blogger, the more e-mail they get and the quicker they are likely to be to add you to their spam filter if you send them junk. Here are a few quick tips:
- 1. Write an interesting post. Hint: Not all of your posts are interesting.
2. Select your target carefully. Rather than creating a mailto with every blog you have ever heard of, think of what the bloggers you read tend to write about. Send your pitch to no more than five of them; preferably, just one or two.
3. Write a clear subject line. I get a lot of mail. My default position is to delete anything that has a high probability of being spam or uninteresting. “You might find this interesting” is generally not a good title, as “But I probably won’t” is the natural response.
4. Make it easy. Give the blogger a two or three sentence–max–summary of the post if it’s long. Include a link to the post. Include the entire text of the post. Unless they are regular readers of your site and you have some sort of relationship, simply sending along a link to the post with the expectation that they will click through is not a great idea.
Sometimes, I will link to a post that I received from an e-mail that violates one or more of these rules. Far more often, though, I have failed to post on a good tip that got buried in my inbox because it had an uninteresting subject line or otherwise failed to grab my attention.
See OTB’s Blogging Tips archives for related pieces.