The following post was submitted by Martin Roth as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series
An excellent way to jump-start a new blog is to write a lively and authoritative article about your particular topic, then alert other bloggers in the hope that some of them will link to you. I’ve done it for two of my blogs, with good results.
The first time was with Bird Flu Update, which I launched last October. I decided to try to write an article that would appeal to bloggers. And what sort of theme would most appeal to bloggers? Something on blogging, I reasoned.
I posted my article, “The Bird Flu Bloggers” – a review of all the best blogs covering bird flu – late in October, then sent polite emails to 50-or-so of the most popular writers in the blogosphere, suggesting they might be interested in it. A couple of them mentioned it on their sites, bringing me several thousand hits over a few days.
I repeated the process a month later with “The Best Bird Flu Humor on the Internet – A Top Ten List” Only one blogger linked to it, but that was sufficient for a further several thousand hits.
Of course, these massive hit waves are just short-term. But I found that each time when the tide turned I was left with quite a few more regular visitors than before.
The same has now happened with my men’s grooming blog, Shaverama which I launched in January. By late-February it was averaging three visitors per day. Then I wrote an article about Gillette’s new five-blade Fusion shaving system. Once again, the emphasis was on bloggers. I looked at how some newspaper commentators had adopted a tone of intense sarcasm about a razor with five blades. Meanwhile, many bloggers reviewed it objectively, and usually favorably.
I titled my article “Gillette Fusion Razor – The Mainstream Media Mocks; Bloggers Give Objective Reviews” and posted it on February 24th, then sent off short, polite emails about it to around 50 leading bloggers.
Half-a-dozen of them linked to it, including – joy of joys – Instapundit, who wrote simply: “Mainstream media vs. the blogs: A close shave.” Over the following week I received more than 7,000 visitors.
Now that the tumult has died down I’m getting about 60 visitors a day, and – to my astonishment – when you do a Google search on “Gillette Fusion Shaving System” I come out at Number One. Even for the far more common search term, “Gillette Fusion,” I manage to squeeze into the Top Twenty.
Of course, writing articles is not for everyone. Some bloggers simply are not good at putting together a readable, authoritative, medium-sized article.
And finding a theme can also be tricky. I’m an experienced journalist of several decades, a former foreign correspondent and a book author, yet I’m struggling to think of article ideas for other blogs that I run.
Try to be topical. See what the leading bloggers are writing about. Getting a link from Instapundit was possibly helped by the fact that he (Professor Glenn Reynolds) had himself earlier written about his own purchase of a Gillette Fusion razor. Don’t make your article too heavy. A little humor is good.
Be polite in your emails to other bloggers, alerting them of your piece. Try to sum up the article in just one or two short sentences. And don’t repeat the process more than, say, once or twice a month.
Of course, even the best article may not attract any links. All the bloggers you email may have a ton of other things to write about on that particular day. I thought my article on bird flu humor was a winner, but only a single blogger (OxBlog ) linked to it. In fact, one of the bloggers emailed me back sniffily to say that he didn’t think it appropriate to make jokes about bird flu.
But if you can make it work, I can think of few quicker ways for an invisible blogger to start getting known.