How to Get on Techmeme in 3 Simple Steps

Want some good Techmeme exposure?

Here’s 3 easy steps to showing up:

  1. Do a riff on a post by a famous SEO guy.
  2. Offer pedestrian blog writing tips.
  3. This one is the real key… have the word Google in your name.

Sour grapes? Maybe.

But watered down advice like this is why so many bloggers don’t have an audience.

Bonus tip 4: Comment on pedestrian blog writing tips with a post of your own. :)

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Comments

  1. Well, Philipp’s actually got a pretty big, healthy audience. And honestly, I thought he had some good tips as well. For a pro writer like yourself, perhaps they seem pedestrian. But people have to learn to walk to even become pedestrians. And good job on the jumping up on Techmeme yourself! :)

  2. Hey Danny.

    No offense to Philipp, but it’s not just that the advice is remedial; for many bloggers it’s just plain wrong. Especially on titles and openings.

    Most bloggers are not trying to practice journalism, but Philipp’s advice assumes they are.

    Plus, some subject matter is more in demand than other topics, and I think some popular bloggers like Phillipp forget that and attribute their audience size to something else. Blogging successfully about a popular topic like Google does not necessarily put you in a position to advise other bloggers.

    That being said, what I was really commenting on here was the Techmeme algorithm… You don’t usually see “blog writing tips” make it up there much, so methinks the Google factor played a wee part.

    I mean, was this post truly “meme” worthy? If so, Richard Dawkins is off somewhere weeping.

    But you understand those pesky algorithms a lot better than I. :)

  3. Brian,

    When you say that most bloggers are not trying to practice journalism, do you also mean that they should not be?

    I didn’t find Phillip’s writing tips that elegant, but I also didn’t find them peculiar to journalist blogs.

    Can you explain further?

  4. Michael, no… bloggers can do anything they want, despite the tendency of some to pigeonhole blogging in one way or another.

    What I’m saying is the advice offered is basically a slightly-modified-for-blogging version of newspaper writing. That’s not good advice for most bloggers, for two reasons:

    1. Many bloggers are not writing news oriented blogs, at least in the journalistic tradition. Perhaps the author is suffering from a bit of tunnel vision because this is his area, but it ignores business blogs of all types, for example.

    2. Even those who are writing in a news style do not have the implicit traffic the old media publication brought the journalist, and therefore writing headlines and posts like you’ve got the circulation of the New York Times behind you can be a fatal flaw in the increasingly crowded blogosphere.

  5. Brian,
    if you want your site tracked by Techmeme ask Gabe to include it, I’m not talking particularly getting the headline here, but being tracked in the conversation. I’m not sure how big his list is, or what the criteria is, but in my experience if you’ve got a worthwhile site (which I’d note I believe your blog to be) just send Gabe an email asking to be included on his list of sites Techmeme trawls. He’s a top bloke and he doesn’t bite…I promise :-)

  6. Hey Duncan!

    No man, that’s not it… Techmeme picks me up occasionally.

    But here’s a point you can appreciate… if Techmeme wants this type of content, why isn’t Darren Rowse featured every other day? :)

  7. I can only go on what I know, and that’s a reasonable bit given I was trying to get a techmeme style script written earlier this year (I wanted to do a similar service for Australian blogs) but I just couldn’t get a script written I was happy with (4 programmers at Scriptlance later I might add). Essentially techmeme only puts in it’s headlines sites/ posts people are writing about who are on the master list at Techmeme, I’ve got no idea how big the list is but at a guess I’d say 1000-2000 sites tracked. I’ve seen Darren on there once or twice, but usually only when he gets incoming links from A-Listers or others on the list (it tends to be tech types, Web 2.0 people…and yes, I’m on that list) but essentially the list is fairly exclusive. Darren’s incoming links tend to come from a broader field, and indeed 99.9% of people who aren’t being tracked by Techmeme, hence he doesn’t get a good run on the site.

    I suppose the question then becomes is this a good thing or a bad thing. I know Steve Rubel and a few others lately have been saying this is a bad thing, that the service should be opened up. I know from my attempts though to get a script to do a similar thing is that essentially tracking that many sites is quite server intensive, so I’d believe there would be technical limitations to how many sites Gabe could include (cost related as well I’d gather). On the other hand though, personally I love the service in terms of the news it does deliver me, indeed it would be one of only a few feeds in the morning my time I’d probably open up 50-75% of all the headline there, so I think it works really, really well just the way it is currently. If you took away the exclusivity of the list and opened it up to all and sundry you’d end up with something like the top posts at Technorati crossed with the spam at the weblogs.com tracker…and all of a sudden the service won’t be as popular as it is now. Of course you could then implement voting I guess, but then you’re moving from memetracker to social networking/ a Digg stye site :-)

  8. Well, I was going to ask you about the individual suggestions, but the thread took a different turn.

    Memes. Hmm, copies of ideas which aren’t very much like the original after even 3 or 4 copies. Quite unlike genes, the source of the metaphor.

    All you are tracking is what the social concensus of 2000 sites is: and on the topic theme, both Brian and Darren consistently post more information than Phillip’s advice.

  9. Duncan,

    I think the real flaw here is that TechMeme does not have a “best in breed” function in their algorithm.

    For instance, Google Blogoscoped may be an authority in the field of search, but Copyblogger is, in my opinion, more of an authority in the field of copywriting.

    In order to promote the most authoritative content in a particular discipline (and thus avoid the situation we’ve seen here), TechMeme would need to categorize and rank its contributors according to content type.

    As far as I’m concerned, the worthwhile point to be taken from this entire issue is simply that TechMeme could probably benefit in the long run by employing a strategy that allows the real cream to rise to the top.

  10. > Plus, some subject matter is more in demand than
    > other topics, and I think some popular bloggers
    > like Phillipp forget that and attribute their
    > audience size to something else. Blogging successfully
    > about a popular topic like Google does not necessarily
    > put you in a position to advise other bloggers.

    You seem to know a lot about me, Brian. For the record, I don’t think a blogger needs a certain audience size to be deemed worthy to write tutorials or hand out advice — I never cared about that. In fact, writing tutorials can be a great way to learn something; it helps you structure your thoughts, check your assumptions, discover new areas, and then get valuable feedback from readers (or co-bloggers like you).

    > Many bloggers are not writing news oriented blogs, at least in
    > the journalistic tradition. Perhaps the author is suffering
    > from a bit of tunnel vision because this is his area, but it
    > ignores business blogs of all types, for example.

    That’s why I explicitly said “(news) blog” in one of the rules, ’cause I know there’s many other types of blogs, and that’s why in the 10th rule stated that there are exceptions. I wrote a narrative fictitious blog myself once, and many of the rules wouldn’t have applied to it.

  11. Hi Philipp.

    No, I don’t know much about you at all. I was responding to Danny’s implied assertion that your audience size qualified you to give blog writing advice.

    As for the news angle, maybe your title should have specifically mentioned “news” — it would have been more descriptive, just like your first tip advises, right? :)

    A headline makes a promise to the reader, and yours promised unqualified “Good Blog Writing Style” tips. I’m sorry I had to take issue with the post based on what I see as a failure to deliver on that promise, but it’s nothing personal.

  12. Brian, could you take a little bit more time to flesh out your thought that some or all of Phillip’s 10 tips were were since “writing headlines and posts like you’ve got the circulation of the New York Times behind you can be a fatal flaw in the increasingly crowded blogosphere.”

    For example, 1. “Write descriptive headlines”. This seems to me just inadequate compare to the headline advice you and Darren routinely show in your headlines. Was your point that writing descriptive headlines is not a call to action?

  13. I know this thread has gone in other directions, but I have to return to this:

    Brian said, “Bloggers can do anything they want. . . . Many bloggers are not writing news oriented blogs, at least in the journalistic tradition.”

    Perhaps bloggers can do anything they want. But if they want to write well, they are going to make use of many many techniques from journalism. Good writing follows rules. Period.

    Of course, there is some variation in the rules of each genre. Business writing and news stories and poetry and fiction and religious writing and narrative nonfiction are not exactly the same. But they are certainly the same species of communication–with only minor genetic differences.

    Good writing is concise. It is clear. And its puts its meat upfront–even when the meat is on a big hook.

  14. Michael, instead of “write descriptive titles” I would say “write specific titles that promise a compelling benefit that draws the reader into the content.”

    The former advice assumes that if the reader has an interest in the subject matter, then they will naturally read the content if you simply tell them what it is about.  Decades of headline testing shows conclusively that is not the case, and because it’s even noisier in the blogosphere, writing “descriptive” post titles is not enough.  Your opening should be also more enticing than the “inverted pyramid” method advises.

    Mark, I’m obviously biased, but I think copywriting is the discipline that business and marketing-oriented bloggers should look to, not journalism. But you knew that. :)

  15. > As for the news angle, maybe your title should have
    > specifically mentioned “news” — it would have been
    > more descriptive, just like your first tip advises,
    > right?

    Yes, you’re right, I could’ve put this somewhere in the first paragraph or the title.

    By the way, as a general thought, titles that clearly indicate what the post is about don’t have to be boring at all. For example, a title could be “Nude Brad Pitt Caught in Bank Robbery”. While there’s no pun and the title isn’t smart etc. etc. the story itself sounds mighty interesting. (If you’re into Brad Pitt, that is.) Sure, you can title this “What a Pitty: Little Brad Exposed” and get 2 points for smartness, but people may simply ignore your story this way and read up on it somewhere else. The right place to include this kind of humor if it fits, IMO, is somewhere in the post body itself, or if blogging software/ RSS ever supports subtitles, then maybe put it there.

  16. Tips 1 and 2 dealt with, and I agree with your observations -for what that is worth.

    Lots of very interesting stories need to be made compelling before they will be read.

    Tips 3-5: links, re-introduce core ideas, and lists?

    I don’t understand the logic behind Tip3; four is wrong – you need to put the actual date and not a temporal reference, and 5 seems to provide no guidance.

    Your thoughts.

  17. Philipp, absolutely agree with you there.

    One of the worst things a headline writer can do is try to demonstrate their cleverness at the expense of clearly piquing the prospective reader’s interest.

    It all goes back to “what’s in it for them,” not “how witty can I appear.” :)

  18. Provocation, I’m liking this. Don’t think I could hook these guys; impressive. :D

  19. In the end, all this translates to “No, you can’t get on Techmeme because all the talkative bloggers have hogged you out of the room. And clean up this mess.”

  20. Absolutely in love with this blog now and so happy to have found it.