Want others to link to your blog?: My link building strategy
Motivations behind creating a blog differ among writers. Some write as they would in a journal, as a way to express their feelings in a contemplative way for themselves. Others hope to entertain or inform the masses with new or original ideas. Still some hope that one day, just maybe, a Hollywood executive will stumble across it in wonderment, pick up the movie rights, and you’ll be living the dream poolside in California while your agent discusses who’s going to play you in the TV show. But what most everyone wants is to be heard. To have a voice. And how will anyone—other than your dearest friends and Grandma—be reading your work if no one links to your blog? You have to advance your link building strategy. I’ve created a list of 7 tips to get your voice out there, link by link.
- Write and post regularly: Ray Bradbury, most famously the author of Fahrenheit 451, said “You must write every day.” He believed in the passion becoming part of your entire lifestyle. In order to create a blog others care about, you must also care about it. Dedicate time to it. Set aside specific times to write and decide to post at regular intervals so your audience expects it. If it becomes a regular part of your day, it will become a regular part of your readers’ days as well.
- Stay informed: If writing for your blog becomes part of your scheduled lifestyle, so should reading. Read current events in newspapers; go online and check out The New York Times, Salon.com, TheAwl.com, or whatever your favorite sites are for newsworthy or catchy topics. Find out what people are talking about. What interests people right now? Try to engage these topics into your blog, even if your blog is on a niche subject. Find the connections and explore them.
- Become a blog enthusiast: Highlight, write about, and link to content or other blogs you enjoy on your own page, and maybe they’ll return the favor. Comment on other people’s blogs with a link to your own—but don’t just use the space as self-promotion; the best way to be noticed is to comment compellingly, to be inquisitive to the topic at hand.
- Engage with your community: Correct me if I’m wrong, but hardcopy newspapers and magazines are dying out because of blogs’ ability to deliver up-to-date information on which others can participate. So use that ability! Interact! Comment on your readers’ comments; bring them into the conversation. Get blog topic ideas from other commenters’ questions and thoughts. This rewards readers for engaging with you, which is what you want! Don’t allow your blog to be stagnant.
- Become a social media maven: The modern day equivalent of shouting from the rooftops, sounding a barbaric Yawp. Once you post a new blog entry, tell everyone you know. Sign up for Twitter. Sign up for Facebook (as if you haven’t already). Post the link to your blog on status updates. Tweet it. Post it to friends’ walls or Twitter accounts that would be relevant. Even e-mail it to friends and family. Set up an RSS feed for your blog so people can subscribe to it; and ensure there is an e-mail subscription option as well. Have options on your blog to Share; make it easy for your work to go viral!
- Create quality content and a trusted voice: Above all, people will read and respect quality content. And, to me, quality content has to do with becoming a trusted voice. Whether you’re writing about revolts in Libya on a Middle East Events blog, or how yellow is the coolest nail polish color for spring in a fashion blog (and it is), you want to be the one that people go to for that content. I bet you have an advice columnist you turn to for life decisions, or a movie reviewer you trust when you’re planning a night out. Become one of those people. Write passionately, from your heart, in your voice. Gimmicks can only go so far for so long. But people will come back for someone’s words they trust and rely on.
- Well, yes, but…: Don’t be afraid to occasionally engage in illicit gimmicky-ness. Create a topic-focused quiz, cartoon, survey, or video. Bring in other voices with interviews and Q&As. These should be a supplement to your exceptional copy, not act as smoke and mirrors. It’s OK, I promise.
Of course, in following my own advice, please use the comment section to describe your own ideas from your real-life successful blog stories!