Getting Your Blog Started: ‘New Radicals’ Approach to Getting What You Give
It’s time to step into the Delorean and cruise back to 1998 for this posts inspiration. Of course if I had a time travelling Delorean, 1998 would not be the first year I would travel to (of course I think most of my close friends know where I am going once I get my time machine). But that is a post for another day.
In 1998 the “New Radicals” released a song called “You Get What You Give.” While the song itself was the typical 90’s rebellion against consumerism and corporate America, this post was inspired by the title of the song, and the catchy tune, not really the lyrics.
A few days ago I started my series on how to get more comments on your blog posts by introducing the Facebook Test of Doom where I suggested that you use the same strategy you used when selling chocolate bars as a kid. The test itself was a success, so it’s time to move on to the next step which is really the meat and potatoes of my strategy.
Step 2: ‘New Radicals’ Approach to Getting What You Give
This is something you will need to being doing on a regular basis and I am sure you have heard it a bajillion times before now: comment on other blogs. Wow. Lame. Great insight right? Well I have a spin on how and where you should approach this strategy. Yes commenting on other blogs will possibly send you more traffic, yes this traffic may yield more comments, but the usual scatter-gun approach is really just a waste of time and effort.
I am not much of a video game person, but when I was younger I really loved the role playing games. Games like Final Fantasy where you would start out as a weak character and work to “level up” so that you became more powerful. I plan on doing the same thing with my blog, I am starting at Level 1 and working my way up. Level 1 is all about credibility. You can’t get comments unless you have credibility, and you can’t seem credible unless you have comments. It’s kind of like getting a credit card where the first one was a real bitch to get approved for, but after that you keep getting offers in the mail. The first post of this series worked to get the appearance of credibility.
So after we have given some appearance of credibility with our friends charging up the comment count we have to move up to the next level which is promoting your blog on a local scale. At this point don’t bother trying to push you blog to a global readership. You either have to have something super unique, get lucky, or be backed by an online celeb. You have a much better shot locally.
Enough with the jibber jabber let’s get started.
The first step will be to find blogs to read written by people in your area, subscribe to them and then comment on them. This works because when you leave a comment you will have an option to leave your blog’s web address and this comment will need to be moderated. When the blog owner goes to review the comments, there is a really good chance that they will click the link back to your website. Most times they are checking to see if you are a spammer or a legit person. Here is your chance to show that you are credible. If you have left a good comment (please don’t leave the “I just love your blog” type of comments – add value, be conversational, or funny) and seem credible, the blog owner may see you as a valued reader, and in turn comment on your posts.
When you add the link to your website try not to link to your homepage, but instead to a post you have made in the past that would perhaps interest the other blog owner (or one with lots of comments already). This should encourage them to read the post, and hopefully provide a comment on the post. Continue to read these local blogs that you have found and only comment when it seems appropriate, or you have something to say (in a later post I will cover what to do if you have nothing to say). By giving in this way the other blog owner may feel the need to return the favour and comment regularly on your posts. You get what you give.
The comments you make could also encourage other commentors to visit your site when they read the comment section, and these people are like gold because if they comment on one blog they like, they are also likely to comment on yours.
Along the way you will find a blog or two that really does not interest you. When this happens just unsubscribe from them. There is no need to continue reading a blog that you do not enjoy. Remember that aside from trying to get comments on your blog you are also reading for enjoyment.
Now that you have the technique, you will still need to find local blogs to read. This is the appraoch that I use to find new blogs in my area:
- Go to the Twitter Advanced Search
- In the ‘All of these words’ section type in either ‘blog’, ‘post’, or ‘latest’ (you also try combo’s like ‘latest post’)
- In the ‘Near this place’ section type in the name of your city (city, province/state)
- Click Search
- Look through the tweets to see if you can find any tweets where people are linking to the blog
- Visit the blog and see if you can identify if the blogger is local (usually an about or contact page, post content etc)