Break into the “A-list” (Whether It Exists or Not)
So, unsurprisingly, Jason Calacanis has once again inflamed some bloggers by stating that there’s no such thing as “A-list” bloggers:
Give me a break… there is no A-List in blogging. Just people who’ve been blogging longer than others and who are smarter or better writers–or all of those things.
I think there are a lot of folks who think because they re-blog a couple of stories a day for a couple of weeks, and they don’t go anywhere in terms of traffic, that they are being “held back’ by the A list. That’s BS… those folks are basically the losers who think that their success in blogging is based on other people.
Kinda reminds me of how hard it is for new sites to rank well against really well established ones. I don’t think that search engines or the blogosphere are a perfect “meritocracy.” The bloggers and websites that deserve the most attention, for quality writing or awesome products and services, don’t always get it.
Granted, much of the A-list has worked very hard to get where they are today. It remains to be seen whether the same amount of work today could achieve the same results. But if you’re up to it, Calacanis and others offer 20 tips (okay, there’s some overlap) on how to get into the (nonexistant) A-list.
- Blog intelligently. Think about your post for a day before you hit publish. Do research–do primary research in the real work. Write something with insight, and include links to other folks ideas.
- Go to 2-3 events or conferences a week. [He means a month.]
- Get a great domain name that is easy to remember and spell (i.e. buzzmachine.com).
- Go to TechMeme and write an insightful piece daily about one of the top stories. [But I thought we weren’t supposed to be “re-blogging a couple stories a day”…]
- Start emailing other bloggers with feedback on their stories. (don’t beg for links)
- Be smart.
- Don’t be an idiot. [No comment.]
- Blog often. You have to blog at least once a day if not more, in the beginning. I’m still shooting for three posts a day.
- Figure out a niche and stick to it.
- Learn the technical stuff. Get up to speed on all the means of aggregation to your disposal, Feedburner, Technorati, pinging, trackbacks.
- Read other people’s blogs regularly. Check out Techmeme, Megite, and Tailrank. Find some blogs you like and do what they do. Blogging in a vacuum sucks (no pun intended).
- Comment on other blogs. [ie ‘talk about’ not ‘leave comments on,’ I guess] Follow the golden rule. If you want blogs to link to you, link to blogs. It will seem one-sided at first but we all start somewhere.
- Read up on how to write. Meaning, how to write a good headline, how to make a post interesting, how to hold people’s attention. You can’t just blast poorly structured thoughts out there in rough draft form and expect anybody to take you seriously.
- Write posts that you want to read. A big YouTube link and one line saying “This is cool! Check it out!” pisses me off. So I refrain from doing that as much as possible – write actual content.
- Figure out why you’re blogging. For money? Attention? So you can be seen as the expert on aluminum siding? Don’t waste time on tactics that conflict with your purpose.
- Set some goals for yourself. Right now I’m trying to crack 20,000 in Technorati and get 1,000 uniques a day. That’s what is important to me; and I don’t worry about other blogs “keeping” me from doing it.
- Pick the specific A-list blog that you want to mention you, and then start serial commenting (not spamming, just leaving daily valuable comments). Theyâ€™ll start responding and, over time, visit your blog. At first theyâ€™ll just respond to some of your comments, but if you keep it up, eventually the OTHER people on their blog will start mentioning you by name; when that happens, prepare for a link. Of course you can also just ask them: how do I get a link on your website? Keep in mind, though, that you have to write something worth commenting on, and worth being noticed for.
- Get some posts syndicated by sites that get more traffic than your blog does and sites that can help your articles show up in news searches. Webpronews.com is a good one if you are in the SEO industry.
- Write an on-topic post that makes it to the front page of Digg, or any of the other popular social media sites. Itâ€™s easy for them to link to that article (you can even e-mail them and ask them to), even if youâ€™re completely unknown. [Oh, if only it were that easy.]
- Publish posts that directly comment on topics and posts in the A-list blogs you want to gain links from. If they blog a lot I guarantee they check their referrers/ track backs and will see that youâ€™re writing about them. Donâ€™t be afraid to disagree with them or strongly add your two cents. Be innovative, be bold, just donâ€™t be boring or another me too; thereâ€™s too much competition for that.
Or you could do what I did:
write for someone else’s A list blog be a girl and have brown hair. (… Are we the A list, Andy?)
Andy says…According to Kineda, we’re on the A-list, but I really think it’s all relative to who you’re comparing yourself to. Here’s some extra tips to consider.
- Get people talking – have you noticed that I tend to voice my opinion, even when the masses take the opposite view? I’ve said many times, half the people that read MP do so with the mindset of “let’s see what idiotic crap Andy has to say today.” Think it doesn’t work? Think about why Calacanis is getting so much attention – his goes to the extreme and pisses-off whole industries!
- Look at bloggers outside of your niche and identify great ideas that might work for your blog. I’m not advocating flat-out copying, but expand your blog reading to include “A-list” bloggers outside your industry and look at what they do to promote themselves.
- Interview the “A-list” – when I first started blogging, I interviewed Robert Scoble, Jim Lanzone and Mark Cuban (among others). Not only did it increase my readership, but it got me on their radar.
- Last tip – bring on talented bloggers! They’ll write great posts for you, like this one.