25 Feb 2008

Digital back scratching

Explaining the practice of blog linking to traditional media experts is like selling Girl Scout cookies to a dieter. It’s long winded, both parties get frustrated and the listener eventually gives in, against their better judgment.

What you need to know is that blog linking serves one main purpose; it gives you credibility or authority in the subject you are blogging about.

When creating a blog, or interactive website (you don’t necessarily have to have a blog to join the online conversation), your goal should be for your message to reach your target audience (whether it’s 25 or 5000 people). If you rely on word-of-mouth, you can expect your Mom and your neighbor to be your only regular readers. Bombarding people with e-mails about your blog or website is also not a welcome or reliable way of increasing authority.

You must, and I can’t emphasize this enough, must look outside your blog or website. Where are the hot bloggers or discussion forums where people are talking about just your subject matter, or even your company? What are they saying? What can you add to the online conversation?

When you have identified the sites to follow, start participating. Write comments, join discussions, share tips or interesting antidotes with the online community in your field. And every single time you comment, link to your blog or website. This sends a message that you are an active and interested participant. When people think you’ve said something smart, interesting or crazy they’ll click on your link. If you keep saying smart, interesting or crazy things, people will start linking to you.

I once tried to explain this to an old-school journalist. The conversation went a bit like this:
Me: Your authority comes from all of the people linking to your blog and the other sites you are linking to.
Journo: But what if you don’t check your sources and only tell one side of the story?
Me: If people link to you, you are credible.
Journo: But you could be telling lies.
Me: Still credible.
Journo: So, it’s a popularity contest?
Me: Yep, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

3 comments:

Colm said...

Agree with most of that but not the last line. I won't scratch your back if I don't think that you have anything interesting to say. It's got to be good material.
So, what in your view are the top blogs around in this topic? Let's see all those links.

Aimée said...

Here are some of the blogs about communications I subscribe to:
http://bisonblog.blogs.com/blog/
http://blog.ragan.com/contentmatters/
http://blog.ragan.com/stevesblog/
http://gigaom.com/
http://clickz.com/
http://www.kullin.net/index.htm
http://publishing2.com/
http://www.webinknow.com/

Colm said...

Thanks for those Aimee. Here's a couple I tend to follow.

http://blog.holtz.com/
http://www.melcrumblog.com/