Nobody’s going to read your blog unless there’s something in it for them.
– Seth Godin
Nobody’s going to link to your blog unless there’s something in for them.
– Hugh MacLeod
At the core, Hugh was dead on. My five immutable laws focused more on creating content that has something in it for the reader. This post is focused on creating a promotion that has something in it for the linkerati who you hope will promote your content.
Rather than a “how to” post, I’m going to give you a concrete illustration. Copyblogger reader Chris Mitchell wrote me to share his story of how he successfully promoted a post he wrote. It’s an excellent example of the mindset that’s required to get influential blogs and websites to link to you.
I’ll let Chris tell it in his own words:
I recently posted Seven Tips for Taking a Laptop Traveling on my blog. I thought it worked well as both a tech and a travel piece, so was worth submitting to big AOL travel blog Gadling.com and big lifehacks site Lifehack.org.
I am shameless about submitting my own content if I know, deep down, that it’s one of my better written pieces with a good headline and no waffle in the prose. And also because, frankly, no one else is going to submit it for me.
Just before I sent the tip, I found a good post taking the opposite view of mine on the TravMonkey travel blog, arguing you shouldn’t bother taking a laptop traveling.
A light bulb went on. If I sent both article links to Gadling and Lifehack, showcasing the opposing views, then it would make it a much more interesting tip for those blogs to post about.
Turns out I was right. We both got blogged on Gadling and Lifehack and have enjoyed a whole bunch of new visitors as a result.
Savvy PR pros know that the way to get clients featured in the news is to do as much of the reporter’s job as possible. The same is true for influential bloggers. They need content, and the better you are at providing them with a compelling and complete post, the better your odds are.
The secret to effective content promotion is putting together a pitch that has something in it for them. Chris understood that simply sending over your link—no matter how good the post might be—is often not enough. You need to provide a feature, a story, an item. Something that makes the blogger’s life easier and best serves their audience, not just your desire for a link.
And guess what? That’s how this post came about as well. Chris is on a roll.