How To Get A Link From A High-Traffic Blogger

Harvey from Bad Example sent me an email that said the following:

“First, please forgive the unsolicited e-mail, but I’m doing some research for a post on blogging, and I’m hoping you can help me.

Someone recently remarked to me that bloggers with high-traffic sites don’t read e-mails from – or link to – anyone except other high traffic bloggers. I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s more a matter of having a tactful approach, and I wrote a post saying as much:

http://badexample.mu.nu/archives/166595.php

Now, I’m sure you have other subjects to write about, and if you have no interest in this topic, I understand completely, so there’s no need to act on this e-mail at all if you don’t want to.

However, it occurs to me that you probably get dozens of annoying “please link this” e-mails every day. Discussing my post would give you a perfect excuse to school your readers on the art of sending you short, on-topic, useful e-mails instead of rambling junk – a topic that would normally be off-theme for your blog.”

Three things:

#1) Like most human beings, bloggers are susceptible to flattery. So, if you frequently link RWN or say nice things about me, am I more likely to link your blog than I would otherwise? Yes, it does help, but only so much. At the end of the day, you’ve still got to be able to deliver the goods. If you’re not churning out great work, you can call your blog the “John Hawkins’ Fan Club,” and you’re still not going to get linked from RWN very often.

#2) As far as the emails go, I have only one message: if you’re a blogger sending out a promotional email, don’t do it too often, and make sure the material you’re pushing is something exceptional.

Just to give you an example of what I mean, the last thing I sent out a promo for was a 3500 word, well researched, 13 question FAQ on illegal immigration that probably took 8 hours to put together.

Things like that, interviews, original reporting, great research pieces, unique items — those are the sort of things you send promos out on.

You don’t send promos out for 300-500 word posts on the topic du jour that you pumped out in 30 minutes.

More importantly, you don’t send promos out for 300-500 word posts on the topic du jour that you pumped out in 30 minutes, multiple times per week, or — and this is crucial — EVERYONE WILL STOP READING YOUR EMAILS.

#3) Here’s the most crucial factor to keep in mind and it’s something that will either hearten or depress smaller bloggers out there, depending on their mentality. You ready? Here we go:

Getting links isn’t about a “Good Old Boy’s Club,” it’s about the numbers game.

Even if you do the best post ever and send out a promo, most of the time you’re not going to get a lot of traction on it. That 3500 word FAQ I mentioned earlier? It was good enough to get mentioned on the Rush Limbaugh Show, but out of the 200+ bloggers that I emailed it to, big and small, about 10% initially linked it — and that’s not unusual.

What that means is that you’ve got to be consistently good, over a long period of time, even though you sometimes get minimal linkage and there is no guarantee of success, if you want to build an audience. Put another way, the secret is that there is no secret, except being good, working hard, and being persistent.

That doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as overnight success stories in the blogosphere, but it does mean you probably won’t be that overnight success story, so you should plan on working hard, day in and day out, for a long time, if you want to build an audience.

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