Is Content really the King?

NO ONE LINKS TO YOUR BEST POSTS - Does this sound familiar?

You’ve picked a topic that your ideal readers are dying to know more about. You can write about the topic with authority. You’ve even chosen an interesting angle. In short, you’ve got a killer post that should bring your blog thousands of new readers. 

You’re also smart enough to realize that you need to tell other people about it. So, you send an email to all of the top bloggers in your niche, pointing them to the post. Then you sit back and wait for the links to come rolling in.

But nothing happens.

You don’t get any links. You don’t even get a reply from any of the bloggers you emailed. You check your stats, and none of them even clicked the link that you sent them.

No, you got ignored. And worse, you now realize that no one is paying attention to you. You wonder, could you really be that much of a nobody, that no one would even read your email?
Yep. You could.

The Oldest Blogging Myth

“Content is king.”

It sounds good in principle. Produce a truly great piece of content, and you’ll get all the links you could ever hope for.
Maybe it worked too, several years ago. The Web used to be a fairly quiet place compared to what it is now, and it was easier for people to notice great blog posts.
But not anymore.
Now great is no longer good enough. The Web is full of so much remarkable content that bloggers don’t have enough time to read it all, much less link to it.
If you want links now, you need to be more than great. You need to be connected.

The Secret to Building a Popular Blog

Remember the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”
Well, it’s kind of true. A mediocre writer that’s friends with every member of the Technorati 100 will become a popular blogger faster than a brilliant writer with no friends at all.

Why? Because bloggers link more often to their friends than anyone else. If you write a reasonably good piece of content that interests their audience, they’ll link to you, mainly because they like you.
The secret to building a popular blog isn’t just writing tons of brilliant content. It’s also having tons of well-connected friends.

How to Make Friends with Popular Bloggers

So… how are you supposed to make friends with all of these popular bloggers and get them to link to your best posts?

Traditional wisdom says you should link to their posts, hoping they’ll notice you and start reading your blog. Sometimes it works, but in my experience, you need to be a little more creative. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Write a guest post that gets lots of traffic and adoring comments
  • Attend conferences that all of the “Who’s Who” of your niche go to and network your tail off
  • Volunteer to “vote” for any posts that they’re pushing on social media sites like Digg, and Stumble Upon
  • Email them an irresistible question, hoping to spark a discussion
  • Leave lots of truly memorable comments
  • Interview them in either a post or a podcast, making sure to ask lots of intelligent questions
  • Join their private membership program (like Teaching Sells) and make lots of smart posts in the forums

Give and Ye Shall Receive

We’re not talking about anything new here. Really, it comes down to one of the oldest principles of persuasion: reciprocity.
Contrary to what many people think, A-list bloggers aren’t islands, separate and self-sufficient. They deal with problems and annoyances, just as much as anyone else. If you can help alleviate them, they’ll thank and remember you for it.

The key is finding ways that you can be genuinely useful to them. Make yourself relevant and then use that opportunity to start building a relationship.
Give it a few months, and then start pointing them to your best and most relevant content. They’ll probably link to you anytime you do anything interesting, bringing you lots of readers. They’ll also introduce you to other popular bloggers, giving you a chance to do more favors and expand your network.
It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. If you put as much effort into building relationships as you do writing great content, you’ll have a popular blog in no time.
And better yet, you’ll have made friends with some of the most interesting people on the web. That’s a reward in and of itself.