Bloggers are always asking us how to get featured in one of our 100+ SmartBrief newsletters. Without going too deep into our proprietary search technology, editorial know how and super-secret selection algorithm, here are five factors that stop us (and every newsletter service worth its salt) from including your latest and greatest post.
- You didn’t use your full name: What, is it 1995 again? I loved your last post, JazzDawg43, but we’ve got our credibility to maintain. When someone links to your post, they’re endorsing you, saying your voice is worthy of attention. How can you expect strangers to support your work if you don’t even stand behind it with your full name?
- You didn’t put a date on your post: Everyone’s had this happen at least once: You send your buddies that super-funny video of the tap-dancing octopus and then the replies come back. “Yawn. I saw that in February. Where have you been?” Don’t humiliate your visitors like that. Date your posts, I urge you.
- You posted someone else’s content without disclosure: As all you social media mavens know, sharing links is about trust. If you got your information from another Web site or from a press release, please say so and disclose that link. Maybe I won’t link to you this time, but I’ll remember that you’re a good source of information and I’ll come back in future, because I can trust you to be honest. Burn me even once and I’ll never visit again.
- You did something R-rated: We’re all adults here (at least until SmartBrief on Miley Cyrus launches…) but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to leave our manners at home. Say whatever you want to say in your post, but if you really want people to share your content, then you should cater to a range of sensibilities. Not everyone thinks certain four-letter words are automatically hilarious. Not everyone appreciates the bikini model picture you’ve got posted in your sidebar. And that goes for your advertisements too. If you’re running super-explicit ads for Viagra, we’re just not going to link to you.
- You got needlessly political: Unlike the other items on this list, politics aren’t necessarily link poison. I used to work at Congressional Quarterly. I love politics … but not everywhere and not all the time. Good: Intelligent analysis of the debate on health care. Bad: Post about animal behaviors that draws an unflattering comparison between a crazed orangutan and the political figure you like least. If you want your content to travel widely, don’t get overly partisan, don’t go out of your way to be offensive (see #4) and resist the temptation to let your views color everything. Sometimes that orangutan is just an orangutan.
If your blog is for yourself or for a select audience you know well, feel free to break every one of these rules. The Internet is wide open for a reason. But if you’d like to reach a larger audience, that means building trust with people who share a lot of content — whether that’s SmartBrief, an influential blogger or even just that one friend everybody has who spends all their time forwarding awesome links. Make a few good-faith efforts, and you’ll get plenty of traffic back in return.
Image credit, elkor, via iStock