Okay, I admit, this A-list thing is like a scab that I just can't stop picking at. I think the whole concept of having an A-list in the blogosphere -- where barriers to entry were supposed to have flattened -- is patently clue-less. And while I am trying really hard to ignore the whole thing, I just have to comment on the flap du jour.
The facts: Steve Rubel of the MicroPersuasion blog published a short post last week advising readers that it was pointless to send him email asking for links -- he was just too busy. The best way to "talk" to him was to get the blogs he reads to link to you. Here's his post:
"Like Scoble, lately I have been getting a lot of please “link to me” emails. I look at these, but as the volume increases I will not be able to scale. This is true for many of the more popular bloggers.
So, here's a blog relations tip for you. One way to get coverage on a “top-tier” blog is by identifying who he/she reads regularly and then pitching those sites.
Here's how to get this done. Start by going to the BlogPulse Profiles site. Enter the URL of your favorite blogger and click on the Sources tab and you will get a sense for their linking habits. For example, here's Scoble's. Use the smaller blogs as stepping stones that help you get “coverage” on the larger ones."
Now, I congratulate Rubel on his successful effort to become the super-ultra-A-list PR blogger (see my previous post, good on you, have fun at the top, watch out for exploding egos). If that's your thing, and you've got the time to make it happen, fine. And I appreciated the reminder about BlogPulse.
But, posts like this are just plain ego, and I don't think they have any place in the blogosphere. BTW I also have no time for people who don't answer their email. You work your way to the top of the heap, great. Hire someone to help with your correspondence. The people you AREN'T replying to, or others like them, helped you get to the summit. Don't forget them.
I digress. Since I am trying to ignore all this crap, I was going to let it pass. Until I saw Media Orchard's truly excellent post: the A-listers aren't different from you and me. They call Steve on his premise, and remind us that the pr-news source-media relationship is symbiotic -- we all need and feed off each other. The key is to make sure that what you "pitch" is really interesting to the one being pitched. And hope he has his listening ears on :-)
Net net give "good news" and you should reap the benefits. Pitch crap, and that's what you should expect, whether it is a magazine, a website or a blog.
Don't skip the comments on the Media Orchard post --they are all pretty amusing, proving that no matter what, most of us seem to have retained a sense of humor.
The thing that irked me the most about the Rubel post was that it was effectively a conversation killer. In one fell swoop, he told thousands of people that he wasn't really that interested in what they had to say, unless it got the stamp of approval from a blog or source he already liked/trusted. Doesn't matter what you have to say. I just don't have the time. And as the Media Orchard folks pointed out: the post basically said don't bother me, bother them.
Now, I am sure that in practice that's not really what he does or will do in future. I hope that if you have something really cool, and approach him with it, he'll pay attention. But that's not what he said on his blog, and in absence of evidence of what we do, what we say stands for us. And in this case, I don't think he comes off well at all. I truly hope he thinks twice about it, and that other marketing and PR bloggers don't adopt the same clue-less policy. If we as PR and marketing professionals, who strive daily to get notice for our companies, causes and products, won't stay open to communication, who the hell will?
A note: you can find Steve's post by by googling it or just going to his blog (which is in my blogroll). I believe this post was antithetical to the spirit of blogging, and it is not going to get any "link-love" from me. I realize that this won't make a bit of difference (my blog is pretty much the pimple on the ass of the elephant) but it satisfies my perverse sense of justice.
My last words on this (at least for now): I have only ever asked other bloggers for a link once, when I was working on spreading the word about a charity auction for Hewlett Packard last fall. Usually I have the time to build a short list of blogger-influencers for my clients, reach out to introduce the company and ask permission to send them our news and ONLY then start including them in our announcements.
In the case of this project, I had no time. So I asked a very small number of bloggers to help me spread the word quickly.
I wasn't too surprised when none of very few "A-list" folks I sent it to thought it was worth mentioning. They don't really know me. I was, however, pleased and thankful for all the marketing and business bloggers I reached out who did respond and mention the charity effort on their blogs. They are MY A-list.
UPDATE 1/16/06: gapingvoid has the top ten reasons nobody reads your blog. Funny in its own right, but his post also includes links to additional material that I found both interesting and useful: a 2003 article by Clay Shirky on power law distributions (also known as the 80/20 rule) and a post by Kent Newsome, Why it's impossible to build a new blog in 2006.
ANOTHER UPDATE 1/16/06: Here's another great post on the whole Rubel flapdoodle from infOpinions: FInding a path to blog PR bliss....Goose and Gander Extremely well said, especially the end:
"For me, I really don't go to Rubel's blog - unless I am sent a link or see it referenced in some other blog and it seems interesting. It has lost value for me. Heck, anyone can do RSS searches, Google Alerts, Yahoo! Alerts and any number of other RSS feed scanning practices. I find all the things Rubel posts about, but in the other blogs I read. And, I find something more. I find the thoughts of those bloggers and what they think of these new ideas, tools, tactics and more. They add to the conversation, not echo it. That, my friends, is content worth reading. They may not be A-List bloggers, but they are the true Kings and Queens - the royalty - of blogs.
I hope Rubel enjoys being there - in his blog. Chance the Gardener has a new crop of squash. As in, squash the lil' guys. He doesn't have time for anything but the really big vegetables."
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