Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Blogwhoring 101

Mariel Leonard writes:
I've now made my way into the blogsphere. In the course of a Facebook debate about older men, gender roles and Karl Rove with the charming, funny, and always interesting Robert Stacy McCain, I linked my post about intellectuals. Stacy did me the kindness of taking me seriously, and replied via his blog. Of course, this linking back and forth is starting to resemble a fun-house mirror room, but if that's what it takes....
Learned well you have, my young paduan.

Every blogger needs "blog buddies," friends and allies you can count on to throw you an occasional link. This is true even of the big bloggers. Sure, Instapundit is so huge that it seems useless for a small blogger to throw him a hat-tip -- like he's going to notice, right? -- but I do it anyways. It's simple courtesy, it's reciprocity (since he has linked me in the past), and it actually does help Insty, since one of the reasons he's so huge is because everybody links him.

The Funhouse Mirror Principle of the blogsophere, to adapt Miss Leonard's phrase, is a puzzlement to many. But the main difference between a mere online diary and a true blog is that the true blog includes links to other blogs.

This blogs-linking-blogs aspect creates an inherent interdependence and encourages reciprocity among bloggers. Think about the "Barney" song:
I link you! You link me!
We're a happy family ...
Is Instapundit a Big Purple Dinosaur? No, but he really has exhibited a sort of Barney-like leadership among center-right bloggers, teaching them by example how to "play well with others." He doesn't seem to hold grudges or keep score and he'll link even the smallest blogger, if that blogger's got something worth linking.

The important thing for a small blogger, if you want to get linked, is to promote your stuff by e-mailing links to other bloggers. Try to find other bloggers with similar interests and beliefs, and pitch to their specialities. If I write something about terrorism, for example, I might e-mail it to Rusty Shackleford, who sort of specializes in that subject.

This business of asking other bloggers to link you is something I call "blogwhoring." When I was at The Washington Times, part of my job was to promote our news stories to the blogosophere -- and I was absolutely shameless about it. The way I figured it, if the blogs were going to link news coverage, they might as well link our news coverage.

So I was a shameless blogwhore, spamming bloggers far and wide with e-mails touting our news product. Did I get on some people's nerves? I'm sure I did. But a blogger can't link a story he doesn't know about, and it was my job to make sure they knew about our stories.

The other side of blogwhoring is linking other blogs in the hope that they'll appreciate the links and be encouraged to reciprocate -- and I did lots of that at The Washington Times, too. I routinely check SiteMeter and Technorati to see who's linking me, and try to reciprocate when I can. That is especially true when someone links me, quotes part of a post, and then elaborates in an interesting way on the same subject.

Something else I used to do, but haven't done much lately: The "round-up" post. Something big breaks in the news, and everybody's blogging on it, so just do a post that's mainly a link-and-quote sequence (and then trackback wherever possible).

A final point: In the blogosphere, there is no such thing as an unfair advantage. Traffic is traffic, and you get it any way you can. Use whatever influence is at your disposal.

I especially mention this to you, Miss Leonard, because I think you might get more traffic if you'd post a mug shot at your blog, so that your male readers had some idea that you are young, single and not half bad-looking. Guys seem to like that sort of thing.

I'm just trying to help . . .

1 comment:

  1. Or, I could just make it obvious about how to find me in person with posts such as this: