Blogs live and die by the number of great inbound links they have. An inbound link is very simply a link from another website or blog coming to your blog.
Not all links are created equal. Some will be from junk sites, sblogs (spam blogs) or sites that have little to no relevance to your blog’s content. These links may still help with things like your Technorati rating, but generally speaking they won’t do much to increase traffic or awareness of your blog.
The best links are those from high-trafficked, relevant sites. But don’t be too concerned about getting links from A-listers (those with big-name / high-trafficked blogs) … what’s really important is the relevancy.
One way of generating great inbound links is through Blog Carnivals.
What is a blog carnival?
Surprisingly, it’s hard to explain in 1-sentence. The Blog Carnival site tries this way, “…where someone takes the time to find really good blog posts on a given topic, and then puts all those posts together in a blog post called a ‘carnival’.”
There are blog carnivals on almost every imaginable topic, from business and marketing to asian history and biotechnology.
So how do you participate in a blog carnival?
- First, fine one that suits the topic of your blog. Here’s a laundry list. (You may find more than one carnival too, even better!)
- Make sure it’s still running. (One of the tricky things is that many of the carnivals die out after some time; the original creator of the carnival loses interest, or they can’t find enough hosts, etc.)
- Note the submission deadline. Each carnival has its own, so make sure you submit your content on-time and take note of when and where the carnival is going live.
- Submit a relevant blog post to the carnival. Try and submit your best content! Some carnivals only pick a handful of posts, others will list all submissions. Regardless, you want to put your best foot forward. Submitting a blog post is extremely easy — it takes a couple of minutes and that’s it. You’ll get an email notification confirming the submission.
- Wait for the carnival to launch and check to see if your post made it. If it did that’s one more valuable, relevant link going back to your blog.In some cases, the person hosting the carnival will email you to thank you for the post, and let you know if it was published. Whether they do or not, email the host directly to thank them for considering your post (especially if they posted it) and start to build a positive relationship.
Blog carnivals are an excellent way to generate great inbound links. But blogging isn’t just about amassing links. It’s about community and building relationships.
Contacting the hosts of blog carnivals is a good way of extending your network in the blogosphere. Commenting on carnival posts (particularly when your post has been published) is a great way of saying, “I’m here and paying attention. Thank you.”
And don’t forget to check out the other blogs highlighted. They’re most likely relevant to your interests, and that means instantly expanding your body of knowledge and networking opportunities. Blog carnivals shouldn’t care about a blog’s popularity, so you’re likely to find resources and people you never knew before … and that’s what building a community is all about. Very often it’s the “little guy” that will become your best contact.