As a Valentine’s Day present to those of us trying to scrape and claw our way up bloggers hill (and there are many of us), Scoble hands out some tips for joining the A-List. Obviously he knows what it takes to get on the proverbial A-List and he has some good ideas.
Here are a few of them, as always with my commentary:
1) Use a Clever Headline.
I agree with this, though the advice of the so called professional bloggers is mixed in this regard. Some like clever headlines, some don’t. My newspaper-type article background (for the Houston Business Journal among others) almost forces me to try to come up with a clever lead in, as well as a tag (the lead out, not Technorati kind). I try to be clever or funny without going over the top.
Who knows if I succeed, but that’s my goal at least.
2) Use Technorati, and with a Photo
I am still stuck in Technorati Ground Hog Day, so I haven’t had time to figure out why my uploaded photo never shows up beside my outbound links. Maybe I’ll get that worked out after I save my rapidly disappearing old links.
3) Be Different.
That’s also good advice. But you have to make sure it’s good different and not bad different. This I think is the key to any writing, be it a blog or a book. When you are speaking to an audience, it’s easier to be good different by being excited, prepared, funny and modest. But when you’re writing, it’s more difficult. I try many approaches to this problem, but if I had to describe my approach in a few words it would be to aim for thoughtful analysis dressed up in humor.
Or perhaps someone could do a blog in latin, or pig-latin. I guarantee you some A-Listers would be all over a blog in latin.
Bad different is easy. Good different is hard. Try hard for good different. And link to Om at least once in every post. He won’t link back, but at least he’ll feel a little guilty about it.
Another good technique is to pick a fight with Dave Winer. He’ll be compelled to scream at you and to do that he needs to link to you or at least go to your site and leave a comment. Mathew Ingram is the father of this approach.
4) Use graphics and good design.
I think this is actually a huge part of it. Most blog nerds like me read blogs via RSS feed readers, but approximately none of the rest of the world does. So how the page looks probably has a major effect on first impressions and a reader’s likelihood of returning.
Having said that, I actually think I have a really good layout on this page and I’m not exactly shooting up the Technorati 100 list.
5) Use Tags
I agree with this one to. I tag almost all of my posts and around 15% of my traffic comes from Technorati. That’s actually a lot from one page.
6) Make Friends with Other Bloggers
This is also huge. I have developed a great relationship with a bunch of other similarly situated bloggers. If not for this loose association, we would all be stranded alone out here at the end of the long tail. As it is, at least we have created some sort of wagon train to get us through the rough areas.
Having said that, I have genuinely tried to reach out to a lot of Scoble’s blog buddies through links, comments, humor, etc. Scoble and Doc responded a little. I earned up to a link from Steve (thanks, Steve, and I mean it). But most of them haven’t responded at all. So I don’t know how realistic it is to expect a lot of these guys to truly involve you in their conversations, even if you write thoughtful posts. Candidly, I think hell will freeze over before Om, Mike and a few others will link to me, even though I write a lot about the stuff they’re interested in. I don’t even want Calacanis to link here any more. And trying to get a link from within any of the major blog networks is like trying to go hunting with Dick Cheney and not get whacked. Highly unlikely these days.
In many ways the blogosphere has been a humbling experience for me. Having written and published extensively in the old media and being a very active speaker on the seminar and convention circuit, it was a bit of an eye-opening experience when I started blogging and realized that so few of the established bloggers wanted to hear what I had to say. To be honest, it irritated me at first. But then I realized it was a chance to start over and try to earn my stripes again. And as someone who loves to build, that was a challenge I couldn’t resist. The secret, I think, is to make sure you have fun along the way. If so, then the worst thing that can happen is you have fun.
As far as bloggers hill goes, I am close to concluding that the only way to actually get near the top of that hill is to form a wagon train with some people you like, set off towards parts unknown and have fun along the way. If we do that, we just might make it.
After all, time and history are on our side.