Desperately Seeking "A" List Blog Membership

If you’re going to be a popular “A” list blogger, you have to get linked (often) by Glenn Reynolds, Wonkette, Michelle Malkin, Boing Boing, Kos, and other “A” list blogs right?

In order to get linked by the “A” list, you have to be liked by the “A” list, right?

The answer can be Yes or No, depending on your definition of “A” list.

Jeff Jarvis highlights a post from Nick Douglas of Blogebrity that asks the question, “What is sucking up to the A-list”? Go read Nick first then check Jeff’s reply.

Blogging requires time and attention. It’s not enough to simply copy a news story or bump a link from one site to another (although I’ve done this more than I care to admit). Blogging is about communication. Daily communication. The more interesting your blog posts are, the more likely your first time readers will become regular readers. Sounds simple right?

It’s not so simple.

Becoming a well read blogger is a tough job.

Jarvis says “There is no A list. There is only your list.” He’s right.

Accumulating regular readership is getting harder all the time, especially if your blog focuses on current events and politics. Why? Because of the echo chamber that exists. What’s worse, bloggers run the risk of constantly being ‘late to the party’. Here’s an example.

A news story breaks. Blogs come alive and start the analysis. A couple of hours go by and now there are hundreds of blogs out there and most are repeating the story and echoing the analysis. Trouble is, your blog is silent on the subject. Why? Well, you’ve got a day job and you can’t do any personal blogging until you get home at night. By then, your valuable reader has already visited a dozen or so blogs and they’ve essentially digested the story multiple times. After a few months of this activity repeating itself, the reader has settled in and regularly visit a short list of their ‘must read’ blogs, their “A” list. They don’t hop around to the myriad of other blog sites anymore because their time is limited, and they are already convinced that they’ve got the jist of any single story. Hey, they visited Drudge and they read ‘their blogs’. They’re up to date.

To be an “A” list blogger, you must become a member of the blog reader’s “A” list, and that list is different for everyone.

Sure, it’s great to be instalanched. It’s good to get on the blogroll. You’ll get noticed by a lot of readers, but it’ll take more than that for your blog to become a member of their “A” list.

Jarvis said something else about sucking up to the most popular bloggers. He cautions the big blogs against forming elite link clubs for a few privileged underling bloggers.

“The worst thing about old media is that it is a closed club. We shouldn’t be making this new world into a collection of clubhouses.”

In the words of Glenn Reynolds, “Indeed”.

The most important “A” list is the reader’s “A” list. Write for regulars. Don’t write for Glenn, Michelle, Ann-Marie, Andrew, Xeni, or Markos.

If you’re expending energy by sucking up to the “A” list bloggers, be sure to put equal effort into building and keeping regular readers, even if you can count those regulars on both of your hands and one foot.

Instalanche visitors come and go, but they don’t stick. Gaining regular readers and becoming a member of their “A” list will take time…a long time. Don’t give up to quickly. Write for them. They’ll stick with you, and they’ll tell two friends…and so on, and so on, and so on.