Posts Tagged ‘reaching your audience’

Link Love Makes The World Go Round

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Last week I talked about determining who makes up your target audience. Now that we’ve figured out who we’re talking to, we have to figure out how to reach them. Your blog can be full of great, interesting, relevant and appropriate content for your target readers, but if they can’t find you, then they can’t read you. Blogging, at the start, is a game of being noticed, and one of the simplest ways of getting your blog out there and noticed by other bloggers is to practice the art of link love. If you are interested in your chosen topic, you more than likely read other blogs in your same niche. (And if you don’t, may I suggest you start!). Chances are you come across content every day that is interesting and relevant to you, and therefore would also be to your potential readers. My advice is to link to it. I am not advocating that every (or any) post you write be a rehash of other people’s content. What I am advocating is that your content incorporates references to other outside content that can only serve to enhance your message.

Why do you want to be noticed by other bloggers? It is all about making connections and sharing interested audiences. Blogging is a lonely game if you don’t have any friends. When I started blogging about personal finance, I didn’t have any sort of relationship with any other personal finance bloggers at all. Over the course of the past 8 months, I’ve forged relationships with many many bloggers, big and small, and my audience has grown as those bloggers have introduced my blog to their audiences. One of the big ways I forged those relationships is to link to things from my blog that I found insightful or interesting on theirs. Bloggers who might never have known about my blog came to visit to see what I was saying about them, and I’ve gained readers not only in those bloggers, but by extension, when those bloggers later started linking to my content as interesting to their readers. The concept is circular, and truly, what goes around does come around.

The biggest question I get about this strategy is – will other blogs be upset if I link to them? And the very short answer is – no. Bloggers, by and large, love when they are linked to, as long as the source of the link is not just copying parts of what they have written. We love attention and interest, and linking provides both.

There are two main ways to link to other blogs from within your content, and I generally incorporate both. One is to do a weekly roundup of interesting posts from your niche. Although this is less personal, it does provide recognition to other bloggers you feel best exemplify what you’re trying to talk about each week. I try to provide weekly links that will be both relevant and interesting to my readers, because they were relevant and interesting to me.

The other method of linking to other blogs from your content is to find relevant posts relating to topics you write about and link to them as resources or examples. I have done this both when I wanted to make a point that was best defined elsewhere, as well as when my inspiration to write about a topic was sparked by a post on another blog. This is more targeted to only the blog you are linking to, and therefore can provide more recognition to a single blog. That blogger may come read what you have to say, comment, and may even start reading your blog if your content catches their interest. My own feed reader is populated by blogs that I first noticed when they linked to me, and I know that my first blip on some other bloggers’ radar was when I mentioned an excellent post they wrote.

Link love truly makes the (blogging) world go ’round. Make it a valentine’s goal this year to start sharing the love – and reap the rewards.