The Secret to Building a Popular Blog4 min read

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve chosen a topic that you know for sure your 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.

“Content is king.”

It sounds true 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.

How to build 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 popular bloggers is going to become popular faster than a brilliant writer who just doesn’t get it why people socialize in the first place.

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.

It’s all about who you know

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
  • 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 the 0 to 5K)

Give in order to 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.

Cristian Mihai

Became Internet famous by the age of 23. Never recovered. I write short author bios all over the web. I’m an acquired taste. Don’t like me? Acquire some taste.

26 thoughts on “The Secret to Building a Popular Blog4 min read

  1. Golly … ok! I get this and I love to read and comment on other people’s posts, but I guess I’m not that proactive or sociable! Clearly this is something that I need to work on. Thank you for this … yet another excellent and eye-opening post. Yikes, I certainly need to pull my socks up! Katie

  2. I’m obviously new to blogging but want to learn everything I can. Do you mind explaining to me what “linking” means exactly and why you should try to “link” with bigger bloggers? It sounds interesting.

    1. When you write a post and link to another blogger’s post. Or mentioning them.

      “I read this great post by Cristian, and so I decided to write my own bla, bla, bla..”

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